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Broughton plant sold for $3.1 million

Broughton/Dean sale to Prairie Farms finalized

Photo by Janelle Patterson Local dairy cows like this one at Schramm Dairy Farm are still producing milk supplied to the former Broughton/Dean Foods plant.

The Broughton/Dean Foods dairy production plant on Ohio 26 in Marietta officially changed ownership this week.

Property transfer records provided through the Washington County Auditor’s office Friday show the plant officially sold for $3.1 million to East Side Jersey Dairy, Inc. and the transfer was recorded Monday into the county record.

East Side Jersey Dairy, Inc., according to the Better Business Bureau, is the registered name under which Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., operates with the published slogan: Locally owned, locally produced since 1938.

When local dairy farmers learned of the Marietta plant sale Friday, they said they were surprised but hopeful.

“I think it’s a good thing, we’ve been waiting to hear whether it was a done deal for a while,” said Rick Schramm, owner of Schramm Dairy Farm outside of Marietta.

Photo by Janelle Patterson The former Broughton/Dean Foods plant on Ohio 26 in Marietta sold this week for $3.1 million and will now operate under Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.

Dean Foods declared bankruptcy in 2019 and asset sales initially announced later were postponed throughout the winter months.

In a press release this month Prairie Farms announced that the company received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas to buy the rights, interests and properties related to eight former Dean Foods facilities, two distribution branches and certain other assets.

The facilities are subjects of the Chapter 11 reorganization (bankruptcy) filed by Dean Foods in November 2019.

The purchases include fluid milk processing plants in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Alabama, Louisiana and in Marietta.

According to the release, the properties will now operate under the name Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., and the direction of Prairie Farms CEO and Executive Vice President Ed Mullins.

“This significant acquisition will align well with our strategy to grow the Prairie Farms brand and expand our footprint of best-in-class plants to new states,” said Mullins in that release. “We are looking forward to extending the availability of our award-winning dairy products to new customers.”

Paul Schaad, of Waterford, said he still has questions as the prices of milk continue to drop.

The Waterford dairy farmer holds the largest contingent of dairy cows in Washington County producing milk.

“I”d like to know if they’re going to do any procurement of their own or are we going to continue through the contracts we have now,” Schaad said.

Schaad shared that while most consumers are the ultimate underwriters of shipping and handling costs, dairy farmers have to pay for their milk to be shipped to a plant rather than the company purchasing the supply.

“And we’ve shipped (to the Marietta plant) all our lives,” said Schaad. “Nobody’s getting scared yet, but there are still questions.”

Multiple calls to Dairy Farms public relations officials went unanswered Friday.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

• Marietta’s milk processing plant sold this week for $3.1 million.

•The former Broughton/Dean Foods plant was purchased by East Side Jersey Dairy, Inc. and the transfer was recorded Monday into the Washington County property transfer record.

• East Side Jersey Dairy, Inc., according to the Better Business Bureau, is the registered name under which Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., operates with the published slogan: Locally owned, locally produced since 1938.

Source: Times research.

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