WILLMAR – Trouw Nutrition has closed its Willmar facility, affecting 23 employees.

The company informed employees at the Willmar facility on Thursday that it was immediately closing the facility located along Highway 71 Northeast.

“Obviously we don’t take this decision lightly,” Dan Baker, a company spokesman, told the West Central Tribune. After considering various options, the company determined that “the best decision to meet the needs of our customers was to streamline its operations in the U.S.,” he said.

The Willmar facility produces premix livestock feed. Its production will be transferred to Trouw Nutrition processing facilities located in Highland, Illinois, and Neosho, Missouri.

Employees at the Willmar facility will be receiving severance and benefit packages from the company. Baker said human resources staff members from the company are working with employees to assist them in the transition process.

The affected employees could apply for positions at other Trouw Nutrition locations, but they would need to relocate, according to Baker.

The Willmar facility includes a mix of longtime and new employees. “An incredible group of individuals,” said Baker, adding that they are appreciated for their quality work and dedication through the years.

The company is now making sure the facility is closed with a minimal impact on everybody involved. Baker said the company will be making a decision in the upcoming weeks or months on the future of the facility itself.

It is focused on the production of premixes for the livestock industry and is fairly specialized, he said.

The company is confident it will continue to meet the needs of its broader customer base and the business as a whole despite the closing, according to Baker.

He said the market for premix livestock feed is very competitive. There are economic challenges being experienced in different sectors of the livestock industry and the ripple effects are being felt by all of those involved.

Trouw Nutrition is headquartered in the Netherlands and has operations in 28 countries while employing approximately 8,000 people, according to Feedstuff, an industry trade publication.

Trouw Nutrition purchased the Willmar facility from NutriBasics in April 2001.