AGP closes corn processing plant in Hastings

Source: By Emily Nohr, WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER • Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013

article photo

Courtesy photo. Hastings ethanol plant

The Ag Processing Inc. corn processing plant in Hastings, Neb., has closed.

The Omaha-based company announced the closure on Friday, effective immediately, citing ongoing economic challenges the ethanol industry is facing.

The company said its human resources department is working with the 43 employees affected but declined to say whether employees would be laid off or transferred to other segments of the business.

“The decision to shut down our corn processing plant in Hastings was very difficult due to the employees affected and the loss of an important market outlet for area farmers,” said Keith Spackler, CEO and general manager of AGP, in a press release. “Our facility, like other corn processing plants in the Midwest, continues to experience negative margins due to higher corn prices driven by ongoing drought conditions, and lower ethanol prices.”

The company said it will continue to monitor market conditions and will continue operations at its soybean processing plant, vegetable oil refinery and an AminoPlus production facility in Hastings.

“Despite industry challenges, AGP still believes renewable fuels — corn ethanol and soy biodiesel — are vital to corn and soybean producers, rural economic development and to the nation as a clean, homegrown source of energy,” said Cal Meyer, vice president of AGP Group.

AGP is the largest farmer-owned soybean processor in the world. It’s owned by 179 local and regional cooperatives representing more than 250,000 farmers.