One of two commercial dairies left in Alaska, Northern Lights Dairy is shutting its doors for the summer, citing labor shortage. Located six hours northwest of Anchorage, Northern Lights Dairy sent its last delivery earlier this month and will remain closed until at least the fall.
According to the Daily News-Miner, owners Don and Lois Lintelman said they are “hoping this is temporary.” The couple said it has been difficult competing with wages at a nearby Fort Greeley construction project.
Northern Lights has been in business since 1978 and sells to stores and military outposts across the state. The dairy has about 100 Holstein, Jersey, and Holstein-Jersey cross cows. Several cows are scheduled to come fresh in the fall. The dairy hopes to resume production then.
The dairy industry used to be a strong component of Alaska’s agricultural production. In 1959, there were 525 dairy farms, and milk accounted for almost half of the state’s agricultural production.