By KELSEY THALHOFER
Foster Farms Dairy says the closure of its Deluxe Ice Cream plant in Salem, Ore., will not have a major impact on area dairy farmers.
John Segale, a spokesman for Modesto, Calif.-based Foster Farms, said most of the cream used at the plant was purchased through dairy brokers in Illinois. One local dairy co-op sold cream through the brokers.
Mike Anderson, CEO of Farmers Cooperative Creamery in McMinnville, Ore., said that though the plant's closure won't have much of an impact on business, it's still the loss of a customer.
"We do like having customers out here, in the local area," Anderson said. "We're as sad as everybody else in the Oregon dairy industry about losing another member."
Anderson said he has seen a trend in the industry.
"I think history would say that the dairy business is consolidating," he said.
While any loss of processing capacity is significant, Pete Kent, CEO of the Oregon Dairy Products Commission, said the Deluxe closure is "an individual business decision."
Kent said he remains positive about Oregon's dairy industry.
"Oregon has a pretty solid future in dairy processing," Kent said, noting the success of artisan cheese and a move toward more national connections and exports.