RENVILLE — Rembrandt Foods announced it will be “permanently ceasing operations” at its facility in Renville.
The closure will impact 52 full-time employees, the company reported in a notice dated Nov. 12 and delivered to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The company stated that the first layoff will occur Jan. 13.
The Renville facility includes barns that have held up to 2 million egg-laying birds and an egg-processing operation to produce liquid eggs for commercial customers.
The company did not respond to a telephone request from the West Central Tribune for information on the closing. The Star Tribune reported Wednesday morning on what is called a WARN notice that was filed with the state.
According to DEED, Minnesota law requires all employers who must provide notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to notify DEED's dislocated worker unit with the names, addresses and occupations of the employees whose jobs will be terminated.
The announcement of the facility closing came as a total surprise to the community of Renville, said Shane Wohlman, city administrator. He said the city will be putting together its economic development team to respond. He said the first concern is to help employees at the plant in hopes they can find new jobs in the area.
Wohlman noted that the Renville community and area communities have a number of large industries that have been seeking workers.
Renville will also be looking to see what can be done about the plant property, which lies on the city’s east side.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is now in the needs assessment of its response to the notice, according to Eric Lightner, communications specialist with DEED. He said DEED staff are hoping to meet with company representatives to learn why the closing is occurring, and what can be done to assist the affected employees.
The company’s notice of its plans to cease operations does not indicate a reason.
Renville has been home to the egg-laying and processing operation since 1994, when it was originally owned and operated by a value-added agricultural cooperative known as Golden Oval. Its shareholders converted operations to a limited liability company in 2004 and the assets were later acquired by Rembrandt Foods of Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Rembrandt Foods depopulated the barns in May 2015 due to the avian influenza. It began restocking the barns in February 2016 and made other improvements to the facility as operations resumed. It had laid off 39 workers when the barns were depopulated, but continued the egg-processing operations, according to West Central Tribune archives.