WALLINGTON - A last-minute effort to stop a North Jersey business from closing hopes to save the jobs of more than 300 people.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo wants to keep the Farmland Dairy plant in Wallington open after an announcement that the company would be closing in the next two months.

Farmland employees say the news was tough to hear, especially before Christmas. "Last-minute notice caught a lot of people off-guard," says Farmland driver Darren Benjamin.

The factory, which processes milk, has been open for the last 40 years.

A company spokesman says the shutdown is designed to improve efficiency and profitability. He said consumption of milk in the northeast is not growing. The company now plans to meet with Sarlo about what, if anything, can be done to save the factory. Workers are making other plans.

"I have four kids, two in college out of state," says lab technician Helena Dubrovska. "So it's not going to be easy, but we'll have to manage."

The plant's closure will also affect other local businesses who count on its employees for revenue.

The borough reportedly receives 8 percent of its tax receipts from the factory. The closure could also affect water and sewer rates for residents. It will also impact local farmers, who sell their milk to Farmland.

The company says it would offer severance packages to employees. The Wallington plant is Farmland's only factory in the northeast.