Watertown’s Jain Irrigation will close

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A longtime Watertown business is closing. Jain Irrigation, which has a plant on Water Street, informed its employees Thursday that the facility is shutting its doors.

In a statement, Jain Irrigation Water Management Solutions Vice President Richard Restuccia refers to the Watertown business as the “Chapin Tape” plant, presumably because it manufactures drip irrigation tape at a facility previously owned by Chapin Watermatics.

“For over six decades, the employees have been the driving force behind Chapin Tape’s success in the agricultural industry. For many years, the use of drip irrigation tape in agriculture has grown enormously in the Western US and Mexico,” Restuccia wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, with the status of the global irrigation markets, the strong dollar, rising transportation, and operational costs, the scale of the Watertown plant necessitated consolidation more near end markets for Rivulis to remain competitive in the Irrigation Industry. "

A Singapore-based company, Rivulis, announced last month that it had completed the acquisition of Jain’s international irrigation business.

“Rivulis conducted a thorough post-merger integration process for the newly merged companies’ product portfolios. As a result, following careful consideration based upon in-depth analysis, the Chapin Tape product offering could no longer be justified when manufactured in New York,” Restuccia wrote. “We are committed to our customers to ensure a smooth transition by supplying Chapin Tape products from other factories worldwide and by offering alternative products from our extended products portfolio. These have been contributing factors to the difficult decision we face today.”

Dave Zembiec, the CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development, told 7 News earlier in the day that reliable sources told him Jain Irrigation is shutting its doors, leaving at least 50 people out of work.

“The company has done a lot of good work in the community, was founded in this community, one we took great pride in, shipping product all over the world. But I guess you can’t control what happens in the global marketplace,” he said.

Zembiec says he and other officials are working to help displaced employees.

“Fortunately, we do have a number of local employers that are continuing to look for work. Labor is a big challenge, so we’re hoping maybe we can do a mini-job fair for the Jain employees,” he said.

Jain Irrigation bought the Watertown plant in 2006 from Chapin Watermatics, a company that had been in business since 1960.

“The decision to close the Chapin plant was not made lightly. We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition during the closing period in the coming months while treating this dedicated team with respect through this painful process. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the employees who made Chapin into the trusted brand among thousands of growers for so many years,” Restuccia wrote.

There was no timeline disclosed for when the plant will shut down.