Kintyre farmers’ last hopes of saving Campbeltown Creamery died yesterday when First Milk announced its intention to close the plant.
Last month local dairy farmers launched a crowdfunding campaign to save the creamery and its Mull of Kintyre cheddar brand, but despite a wave of national support and enthusiasm, they failed to secure a financially viable long-term business plan.
Campbeltown Creamery was put up for sale by farmers’ co-operative First Milk in April last year and despite efforts over the last 18 months, no buyer came forward.
The chairman of the Kintyre steering group, James Barbour, said there had been widespread enthusiasm from farmers to try to secure the future of the site as well as support from First Milk, the Scottish Government, the local community and a successful crowd-funding campaign.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us through this period,” he said.
An employee consultation has now begun and 14 jobs are at risk.
Kintyre farmer John Smith, chairman of the farmers’ union’s dairy committee, said his heart went out to the staff.
“It is regrettable that the Mull of Kintyre brand that we have passionately supported will now no longer be available,” he added.
“That is due to the harsh economic reality of processing milk in an incredibly tough dairy industry that has witnessed so many casualties at both farm and processing level in recent times.”
However Mr Smith said local dairy farmers, all of whom are members of the First Milk co-operative, would continue to have their milk collected.
First Milk chief executive Shelagh Hancock said: “It is important that we act in the best interest of the wider business and our farmer members and continue with the solid progress we have made in strengthening and developing First Milk.”