The patron farmers of the Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative will be paid by Christmas after the bankruptcy court approved a motion yesterday (12/22) to release funds for November milk payments.
The Cooperative had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure its debts and to have time to find a new partner as a result of its long-term partner, Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Inc., ending its cheesemaking contract with the Cooperative. The cheese plant is currently closed until it can be reopened in the next 3-4 months.
Jeremy Mayer, President of the Cooperative, says ”Ensuring payments to the Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative for milk delivered in November was the first priority during the Chapter 11 proceedings and a necessary action to keep our farmers in business and to keep the Cooperative together as the 110 year old cooperative seeks a valued new partner after operations temporarily ceased this month.”
Mayer adds “hopefully our farmers can rest a little easier over Christmas with these milk payments and much appreciation and thanks go out to the Bank of New Glarus and the Maple Leaf Cheesemakers for supporting the efforts to pay the Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative farmers. We also thank our lawyers from Michael Best & Friedrich who made getting Maple Leaf farmers paid a top priority.”
Mayer says “now the priority is to keep the Cooperative and its milk supply together while a new partner is found and the Cooperative can rebuild for a stronger future.” He stated further that “the Cooperative has already seen significant interest in the cheese plant from prospective future partners and the Cooperative’s priority will now be on securing the best new partner for a strong future and relaunching the cheese business.”
“The Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative Board of Directors and patrons are thankful for the support the Co-op is getting from the Green County community and the Wisconsin dairy industry and that is helping the Cooperative stay strong and optimistic about the future,” says Mayer.
Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative is a farmer-owned Cooperative and cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin. The Cooperative comprises 25 dairy farmers and has been in business since 1910.