Eyewitness News Reporter
Eyewitness News Senior Photographer
ATHENS, Tenn. (WRCB) - Tough economic times are forcing tough decisions at Mayfield Dairy Farms. They had to cut jobs for the first time in company history, which dates back to 1910.
Scottie Mayfield is president of the company. He said it's hard for him to say the word 'layoffs.'
"We're not familiar with the term, because we've never done this before. But we had 62 people that we gave severance packages to. And they're looking for other work, and were helping them to do that," said Mayfield.
Those 62 laid off workers were spread throughout 22 distribution centers. The company estimates milk sales are down 50,000 gallons per week. That's a 5 percent dip in milk sales.
Mayfield believes it's a direct correlation to the sky rocketing cost of fuel.
"As the price of fuel went up, milk sales kind of floundered a little bit. And so we started analyzing our business and realized we've got to do some things to get our milk price more competitive," said Mayfield.
Although less than 100 workers have lost their jobs, Mayfield is not certain the number won't increase.
"If our sales were to go down, we have to cut back," said Mayfield, "I mean that's just an economic thing we'll have to face."
Right now, Mayfield is optimistic about the companies future. This week they added three new flavors to their ice cream lineup. But even still, the president says he's not sure what tomorrow will bring.