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Case New Holland shuts down a factory in Illinois
By TIM ALEXANDER
Illinois Correspondent

GOODFIELD, Ill. — Though Case New Holland’s (CNH) quarterly earnings report issued Oct. 25 indicated a 148 percent increase in net income against last year’s figures, actions were initiated to accelerate cost reductions.

As part of those actions, 209 workers at the Goodfield, Ill. CNH manufacturing plant were told they would be let go and the plant closed in 2007. Another CNH plant in Pennsylvania will also be closed.

“To accelerate cost reduction activities, CNH today initiated new global initiatives, including the closure of its Belleville, Pa. and Goodfield, Ill. agricultural manufacturing facilities to improve manufacturing efficiencies,” said a report by Thomas Witom, CNH news and information director. “Production from these two plants will be relocated to other existing facilities in North America and Poland.”

Witom later told news sources the Goodfield plant’s operations would be shifted to an existing facility located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Local jobs lost include assembly line workers, supervisors and other hourly employees. Up to 80 employees within the engineering and research and development wings of the Goodfield plant will likely be retained.

Shortly after CNH purchased the plant from its founder, Bill Dietrich, in 1998, the plant operated with around 500 employees and was expanding. Rising costs associated with farming are thought to be the culprit behind the Goodfield plant’s closing, Dietrich told news sources.

The news shocked the residents of tiny Goodfield, many of whom are employed at CNH. Recently, a Cargill Nutrena animal feed factory closed just down the road from CNH on U.S. 150.

CNH’s quarterly report noted that though tractor, specialty harvesting and hay and forage products sales increased in volume, profits were offset by lagging combine sales, resulting in a 7 percent decline in agricultural equipment net sales compared with the prior year.

The Goodfield CNH plant made tillage equipment and fertilizer applicators.

This farm news was published in the Nov. 8, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

11/8/2006