(Learfield News Service/Sleepy Eye, MN) This week’s announcement that Del Monte Foods is closing its Sleepy Eye plant in October took the small southern Minnesota community by surprise.
EDA(Economic Development Authority) Coordinator Kurk Kramer says the ripple effects of the closing will go deep: “There is thousands and thousands of acres that farmers had that they contracted with Del Monte for peas and corn that it’s going to affect. There will be trucking companies you know…that hauled the produce. There will be silage companies or farmers that use the silage as a by-product. Of course, the school district is going to be affected.”
Around 370 employees will lose their jobs at the plant.
Delmonte officials told the city the closing is due to economic reasons.
Kramer says they have already been in contact with county, state and federal workforce officials: “We’re optimistic that we can find a solution here. So we will see what happens. It will become a little easier to see just exactly what’s going on I think in the coming days when we figure out a little more about what the plan is.”
Kramer says their community is resilient: “Saw one guy today talk about Monday was like having a funeral in the family and everybody was saddened by the news and yet everybody is working together as far as a community –the businesses and all the people involved.”