Yarnell’s Premium Ice Cream, Searcy, Ark., ceased operations after the board of directors voted to end production indefinitely, putting approximately 200 employees out of work.

“This has been an extremely tough year for the ice cream industry in general, and particularly to regional, independent manufacturers like ourselves,” says Christina Yarnell, chief executive officer. “We have examined many possible avenues to keep the company afloat – actively marketing the company to investors and strategic buyers – the majority of whom are undergoing the same financial distress we are. However, we’ve been unable to obtain additional financing from our lenders or locate a buyer, and have come to the difficult decision that the appropriate course of action is to shut our doors.”

Approximately 75% of Yarnell’s employees work at the Searcy headquarters, with the rest of the employee base located throughout the state and in Tennessee and Mississippi. A small team will remain working for the company to finalize operations, with completion expected Aug. 27.

The company ranked 94th on the 2010 Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' annual listing of the nation's largest dairy processors, with 2009 revenues estimated at $65 million. The company produced ice cream, frozen yogurt and novelites.