Northern Lights Dairy, one of only two dairies in the state of Alaska, is closing. The Delta Junction dairy that provides milk to a handful of locations in Interior Alaska will stop operations next week, according to owner Lois Lintelman.
The dairy’s closure was first reported by KUAC.
In a brief phone interview Wednesday, Lintelman said the dairy struggled to find help in recent years. That, plus closures of other dairies, made it difficult to compete with grocery store prices of milk shipped up from the Lower 48.
The Lintelmans have operated the dairy since 1978. They have a herd of 100 cows and milk 45 of them.The dairy sold milk to Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Greely, Fort Wainwright and three Safeways in the Interior.
Dairies in Alaska have long struggled. An attempt to start a dairy project at Point MacKenzie in the 1980s failed despite millions of dollars in state subsidies.
In 2012, two people associated with a dairy startup in the Matanuska Valley were charged with fraud after diverting agriculture loans used to help the dairy for their own personal purposes. Both were found guilty and served time in prison.
Havemeister Dairy in Palmer is now the state’s only remaining dairy.