Workers Hoping Production Resumes at Binghamton Dairy
Although it's been more than six months since milk was processed at a Binghamton dairy plant, workers are hopeful that operations will resume at some point.
An employee said there has been no production at the Mountain Fresh Dairy facility on Conklin Avenue since June. But a few workers continue to do preventative maintenance at the plant so it can be ready to again process milk.
The future of the operation is uncertain because of the company's financial problems. The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports Mountain Fresh is facing foreclosure proceedings because the company allegedly fell behind on loan payments.
According to the report, Bank of America is threatening to seize material from the Conklin Avenue facility.
The newspaper also reports that Mountain Fresh has fallen behind on loans made by Broome County and Binghamton economic development agencies.
Mountain Fresh owners Zeev Rothschild and Norman Rausman could not be reached for comment.
Although it has been months since milk was processed at the plant, the worker who spoke with WNBF News said it wouldn't take long to get the operation going again. He remains optimistic that will happen.
On June 28, New York agriculture officials announced that some lowfat milk produced at the facility was being voluntarily recalled because of improper pasteurization. The milk had been distributed by the Broome County CHOW program and sold at three non-profit grocery stores in New Jersey. No illnesses linked to the milk had been reported.
When loans were being sought for the new operation, Mountain Fresh Dairy suggested more than 100 people could wind up working at the former Crowley Foods plant.
One loan document indicated the facility would "create 140 skilled full time equivalent positions" within three years. It's unknown how many people ever were actually hired by Mountain Fresh.
When HP Hood closed the plant six years ago, 54 people were working there. Mountain Fresh utilized some of the workers from the old Crowley plant to set up the new operation.
Mountain Fresh acquired the site in April 2013. Years later, there are no "Mountain Fresh" signs at the plant. The Crowley name still appears on the building's giant smokestack that towers over Conklin Avenue..
Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: firstname.lastname@example.org
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