(Sleepy Eye, MN) -- Del Monte Foods is closing its plant in Sleepy Eye that employs nearly 370 people. The company told the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development the plant will permanently close after the current pack season ends in October. Sixty-nine, full-time employees and 294 seasonal employees will lose their jobs. The exact reason for the closure is unclear. The company's website said the Sleepy Eye plant was established in 1930 and produces the largest case quantities of peas and corn in the entire company. Sleepy Eye city officials called the closure "a terrible shock."
Rep. Tim Miller of Prinsburg yesterday said “this is a terrible loss for a mainstay of the central Minnesota economy. That single plant provided good seasonal and full-time jobs for the surrounding communities for almost ninety years. To see it come to an abrupt end is a real loss and should tell us something about how the agricultural industry is struggling in Minnesota.” Miller says he hopes the plant can be sold to another business so that those jobs can be replaced.