LONGUEUIL, QUE. — Agropur Cooperative on Sept. 21 announced it is closing its cheese making plant in Saint-Damase, Que.

“Major investments were needed at the plant,” the company said. “In view of the inability to reach a long-term agreement with the plant's employees and the need to honor commitments to customers, Agropur had no choice but to reorganize its investments. Operations at the plant will therefore be discontinued, and it will close permanently in April 2019.”

Agropur said the plant employs 110. Operations are expected to wind down between January and April 2019.

Soft cheese manufacturing will be integrated into the cooperative’s operations in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., while cheese conversion will be transferred to the Beauceville, Que., plant, the cooperative said.

“The cooperative must take the necessary measures to remain a major player in an increasingly competitive market,” Agropur said. “These decisions are not taken lightly. Agropur is keenly aware of the impact of today’s announcement on the plant's employees. The affected employees will be able to take advantage of available programs, including employment opportunities at other Agropur sites, severance packages, and the employee and family assistance program.”

Founded in 1938, Agropur Cooperative generated sales of approximately $6.4 billion in 2017. The cooperative has 3,290 members and 8,300 employees who process more than 6.1 billion liters of milk per year at 39 plants across North America.