The facility will cease production by July 17, the company said.

MONTGOMERY, Ill. – In a surprise move, Butterball LLC announced plans to close its Montgomery, Illinois, processing plant by July 17, 2017 due evolving consumer and customer demand. The plant closure will impact 600 employees.

Butterball COO Jay Jandrain said in a statement: “We are committed to retaining as many of our Montgomery employees as possible, and are committed to offering relocation assistance to any of our team members who have an interest in staying with the company and accept an available position at another location.

“In addition, we will be working diligently with leaders across the enterprise and with other resources in the days and weeks ahead to identify and provide opportunities for outplacement and retraining for those affected,” Jandrain said, “and will be seeking support from local and state economic agencies to find a buyer for the facility with the hope of securing new opportunities for the local economy.”

Butterball acquired the former Gusto Packing Co. facility in 2013. The plant covered 260,000 sq. ft., and allowed Butterball to expand the company’s value-added turkey business while utilizing 50 percent of the existing equipment for pork processing. The most significant innovation to come from the Montgomery facility was the launch of a branded ham line.

The Butterball line of hams — Honey Ham, Black Forest Ham and Virginia Baked Ham — debuted in May 2016 at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.