Major Merced County employer selling a factory. What happens to the employees?

Hilmar Cheese Company Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its Turlock milk powder facility to Visalia-based California Dairies Inc., according to a news release.

The sale is part of Hilmar Cheese’s new “Strategic Plan 2021,” which the company announced last month. The selling price of the facility was not made public on Wednesday.

With annual revenue of about $2.6 billion and about 1,500 employees, according to Forbes, Hilmar Cheese is one of Merced County’s largest employers. The Turlock plant employs 65, according to Denise Skidmore, the company’s spokesperson

“Our cheese, whey protein and lactose business remain core to our future,” David Ahlem, CEO and president of Hilmar Cheese, said in the statement. “The Turlock milk powder facility sale supports our plan to focus on products to grow the strength of our business and fulfill our vision for the future.”.

The company will continue to own its factories in Hilmar and Dalhart, Texas, according to officials. Hilmar Cheese will also continue operations with no impact on the dairy farm families who sell milk to the company.

“Completed in 2015, the milk powder facility integrates advanced processing technology to manufacture whole milk powder and skim milk powder for the export market,” the release said.

California Dairies will offer positions to Turlock-based Hilmar Cheese employees, according to the release. The company already has a presence in Turlock, as well as Los Banos and Fresno.

The deal is expected to wrap up in May.

*This story had been corrected from an earlier version.