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Dean Foods Is Closing Dairy Plants Across U.S., Including One In Sheboygan

Industry Analyst Says Closures Are Due To Drop In Milk Consumption, High Transportation Costs

Photo: DrumGuy8800 (CC-BY-SA).

Dean Foods is one of the largest milk producers in America, but it’s getting smaller.

The company, which is based in Dallas, has closed 12 dairy plants around the country in the last three years. By the end of April, it will close its 100-year-old dairy in Sheboygan, leaving 70 people out of work.

Jerry Dryer, the editor of the Dairy & Food Market Analyst, said one reason for Dean’s woes is that Americans are drinking less milk.

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“Milk is the victim of a lot of changes out there in the world, like people not eating breakfast at home,” he said. “And that’s where we consumed 30 percent of our milk. That structural thing in our culture, our society, has changed. And it’s just put a real dinger in milk sales.”

Dryer said Dean also has to get smaller to be more efficient and stay profitable. Dean blames higher costs for raw milk and transportation.