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Organic Valley lays off 39 employees

Organic Valley lays off 39 employees

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Organic Valley confirmed that it has laid off 39 employees.

The La Farge-based organic cooperative eliminated the office positions over the past 60 days, said Elizabeth McMullen, Organic Valley spokesperson, by email.

The news was first reported in the Crawford County Independent and Kickapoo Scout.

These positions made up about 5% of their general and administrative positions, McMullen said. There are still about 950 employees at Organic Valley.

“We deeply regret the impact this has on (cooperative) employees and their families,” McMullen said. “The difficult actions we are taking now will better position the cooperative to support our next chapter of growth.”

McMullen added the cooperative is offering services to help employees that were let go pursue new career opportunities, as well as “what we hope will be considered generous severance benefits.”

The layoffs came after Organic Valley posted in April a $12 million loss in net profit before tax despite a 1% increase in sales.

Organic Valley interim CEO Bob Kirchoff said at the annual meeting that he was optimistic and that the co-op balance sheet still looked “fantastic.”

Kirchoff was the chief business officer at Organic Valley before longtime CEO George Siemon stepped down in March.

“Innovation has to take place,” Kirchoff had said at the annual meeting, adding that the company had two big announcements planned for later in the year.

Jennifer Lu is the La Crosse Tribune environmental reporter. You can reach her by phone at 608-791-8217 and by email jennifer.lu@lee.net.

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