Panora received a major economic blow this week when it was officially announced that Cargill Kitchen Solutions, which is considered a source of pride in Panora for the past 28 years, would be closing its hard-cooked egg facility. After careful consideration, Cargill plans to consolidate and shift production to their plant in Big Lake, Minnesota.
A news release from Cargill states the decision allows the firm to consolidate all products that require shell eggs as their raw materials into one facility that can handle current and future demand. It also enables greater efficiency by focusing the production, supply chain and quality assurance efforts in one location.
Plant Manager Kirby Klinge says all 55 current employees were notified of this decision and were given a form to complete to determine if they’re open to relocation and what skills they possess. The results will be used for possible placement within the Cargill organization. Klinge says the plant shutdown, which is expected to start in January and should be completed by next spring, will seriously impact many families, businesses and local utility service providers. Panora City Administrator Lisa Grossman is assessing how the plant closing impacts the city in that the company’s annual water bill alone was in the $50,000 range.
Panora and Lake Panorama Area Economic Development Group (PRIDE) President Curtis Thornberry, who termed the closing a business decision, was shocked and says little could be done locally to reverse that decision. PRIDE realizes the Panora plant has a strong history in the community, not just with Cargill as owners, and is taking an active role in supporting the local workforce and will provide assistance to market the transition of the property to new owners, Thornberry added. PRIDE has also taken the steps to advise officials from Iowa Workforce Development of the closing and they are eager to work with employees to consider their options of education and/or new employment.
Cargill Kitchen Solutions is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Cargill, Inc. The firm operates five plants in the US and Canada, producing a complete line of prepared egg products and specialty items that are served in thousands of restaurants nationwide.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company currently has 142,000 employees in 65 countries.