Citing an "ever-evolving marketplace" with "shifting regional milk supplies," California Dairies Inc. announced on Monday it will cease operations of its Artesia, Calif., manufacturing facility immediately.
The closure will affect about 49 employees, according to a company news release. CDI says it will work closely with them to help them with the transition.
"We deeply regret the impact this decision will have on our Artesia employees and the community and are committed to supporting our employees through this transition,” President and Chief Executive Officer, Brad Anderson said in a statement. “The Artesia plant has been a valued facility with a long history that has served California Dairies and its member-owners well. This decision is not a reflection of the hard work of our talented employees in Artesia.
"As we navigate an ever-evolving marketplace, with shifting regional milk supplies, we continue to evaluate our asset network, and the products we produce, to maximize value to our customers and member-owners," he said.
The Artesia manufacturing facility was constructed in 1958. In 1980 California Milk Producers operated at this location before merging with Danish Creamery and San Joaquin Valley Dairymen in 1999 to become California Dairies, Inc.
CDI continues to have a significant presence not only in California, but also throughout the United States and globally, officials said in the release.
Milk prices have been particularly volatile in recent weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as supply chain disruptions initially caused producer milk prices to sink to around $10 per hundredweight (cwt). Within the past month Class III milk prices soared to $21 per cwt. as COVID-19 lockdowns were slowly lifted and restaurants reopened, but dairy experts say the high prices are unsustainable.
The closure continues a trend of declines in the number of dairy farms in California over the last two decades.