The Agway Feed Mill, along Edgewood Avenue, is closing and moving into another plant in Martinsburg.
“We are still going to service all the customers we currently have,” said Chuck Lickteig, manager said. “They are just going to be serviced out of another plant.”
The Martinsburg facility is only operating at half capacity. Even with adding the Somerset orders, the plant still will not be running at full capacity, Lickteig said.
“With a brand new plant an hour away, it's a business decision to move rather than put more money into the Somerset plant,” he said.
The plant has been owned by Cargill Animal Nutrition Co. for the past two years, however, it has been in the Somerset area close to 35 years.
Right now the plant has four employees, who have all been offered new positions at another Cargill location.
“There are four guys here that would potentially lose their jobs, but Cargill offered them a package if they want to move,” Lickteig said.
The four salesmen will still work in the Somerset area.
“The only thing that is changing is we are not going to be making feed out of the Somerset Plant,” he said.
When Agway owned the plant, they had a retail store and close to 30 employees including truck drivers, store and plant employees.
“The retail store has been closed five or six years, before Cargill bought the plant,” Lickteig said.
Agway had some money problems when they cut back on some plant maintenance to save money, Lickteig said.
“That does not mean Cargill is not dedicated to this local area and the dairy farmers in the local area,” he said. “The main point is with the history of Agway that caused this plant to run down.”
The dairy farming industry has also changed throughout the years, Lickteig said.
“A lot of people, some dairy farmers, went out of business, a lot are consolidating, fewer farms and larger farms,” he said.
Record crop years have also driven down feed sales.
The plant will officially shut down operation at the end of March. Lickteig said he believes Cargill will retain the property.
“I think Cargill would like to keep the property and is probably going to rent it out,” he said.