A blow to Sleepy Eye and the area
Tuesday’s announcement that Del Monte is going to close its Sleepy Eye plant after this corn pack season is a blow to Sleepy Eye and to many others in the area.
The plant is a major employer in town. The closing announcement said that 69 full time and 294 seasonal employees will lose their jobs, with the layoffs being phased and completed around June 2020.
That’s a lot of payroll to pull out of the local economy. These are jobs that give high school and college students a chance to earn money, that allow families to supplement their incomes.
This will impact the farm economy as well. A lot of farmers planted thousand of acres in sweet corn for the local plant to process. No doubt they will be able to plant something else next year, but without the security of a contract with Del Monte.
The Del Monte company web site says the Sleepy Eye plant, established in 1930, is the company’s case quantity supplier of peas and corn in the entire company. And yet, the company sees a strategic value in shutting down it’s largest producer. We don’t know what kind of strategy that is.
The effects of this closure will ripple out from Sleepy Eye and impact far more than just one town.