The 18 staff currently employed at Fivemiletown would be offered transfers to other Dale Farm production locations, Dale Farm said. Where transfers would not be feasible, suitable redundancy packages would offered, it added.
Dale Farm said that following careful consideration, maintaining production of Fivemiletown cheese at the Fivemiletown site was deemed “no longer feasible”.
The cooperative is to relocate production of the main lines at Fivemiletown to the Dromona creamery in Cullybackey. Production of the low-volume cheese retail lines is to discontinue.
Speciality cheese brand
In May 2014, Dale Farm bought the Fivemiletown speciality cheese brand from Glanbia Ingredients Ireland and reached agreement with Fivemiletown & Brookeborough Co-operative to take over the production of its cheese at the Fivemiletown site.
Dale Farm then leased the premises from Fivemiletown & Brookeborough Co-operative and took over employment of its staff.
The lease arrangement with Fivemiletown & Brookeborough Co-operative is due to terminate this year, and production of Fivemiletown cheese at the creamery will cease in early June.
A spokesman for the company said: “Dale Farm is keen to ensure the Fivemiletown brand remains active in Northern Ireland and will continue to produce Fivemiletown goat’s cheese.”
1,300 dairy farmers
The Dale Farm cooperative is made up of more than 1,300 dairy farmers in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.
Other brands within its portfolio include Dale Farm Spelga, Dromona, Mullins Ice Cream, Loseley and Rowan Glen.
Since 2007, Dale Farm has awarded a bursary to more than 20 top athletes in Northern Ireland. It is also a sponsor of Ulster Rugby.
Meanwhile, Dairy giant Müller Milk & Ingredients has warned it may close one of its manufacturing sites as part of a review of its network of dairies.