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KDI In Hugoton Closes its Doors

Joe Denoyer - January 23, 2024 4:28 pm

By KWCH

HUGOTON, Kan. (KWCH) – Hugoton Kansas could soon see its economy take a hit after one of its biggest employers closed its doors on Friday, Jan. 19.

The Kansas Dairy Ingredients (KDI) facility in Hugoton confirmed the plant’s closure which left approximately 150 workers without a job.

Jan Leonard, the Economic Development Director for Stevens County, stated that the announcement was a “shock,” and he believes it will have rippling effects on the area.

“It was a total surprise,” said Leonard. “I visited with county commissioners, and they were even floored. It’s high-talk news right now.”

Back in June 2021, KDI announced a $45 million investment to expand operations at the Hugoton facility to include producing cheese and butter, all while adding 40 new jobs at the plant. However, just two and a half years later, dozens of workers are searching for a new place of employment.

“They started building 12 years ago when they did this addition, and I think they even had a phase three planned later on,” said Leonard. “I do not know what they will do in phase three, but it was a shock. We still can’t believe it. It’s not good.”

Leonard believes what hurt the company was growing “too big too fast” after expanding the facility that opened in 2013.

Janet Bailey, the CEO of KDA, said they did not have any information at this time.

As for the newly expanded facility, Leonard said the attention has now turned to bringing in another business to operate from the plant. The Stevens County Economic Development Board said calls have already been made to dairy personnel in California to spread the word about the open facility. The goal is for a new company to purchase the plant.

A timetable on if and when that could be has not been determined.

 

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