red Petke reports in the Winchester Sun that Alltech Algae notified Winchester, Kentucky officials this past Friday morning it that would close its Winchester facility “effective immediately.” According to the company, the decision gives the company more flexibility.
“Our Alltech Algae facility in Winchester, Kentucky, has served as a pilot plant for industry-changing innovations in animal nutrition that we plan to continue to drive forward,” the company said in a statement. “However, with our continued commitment to operational excellence and efficiency, we feel the need to move to a more flexible, less constrained production arrangement for algae. As such, we are ceasing production at the Alltech Algae facility in Winchester.”
The company said it would work with the 20 employees at Winchester to find other employment within the company or outside. “They are highly skilled individuals, and we have deeply appreciated their service with us,” the company said.
Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner met with company officials about a year ago and was told Alltech was scaling its operations back at the facility. “It is not totally unexpected but it is disappointing,” he said. “I’m not sure what prompted all this.”
Alltech, a biotechnology company, purchased the facility in September 2010 from Martek Bioscience, which specialized in algae fermentation. Martek decided to move its production to South Carolina. Alltech officially opened in April 2011 and continued fermenting algae for aquaculture and for use in animal feed.
When Alltech officially opened in Winchester, company officials said they planned to employ 50 people and produce 10,000 tons of dried algae annually.