Ag Processing Inc. announced an extended shutdown of the corn processing plant in Hastings effective Friday that will affect 43 jobs.
In a Friday afternoon news release announcing the shutdown, the Omaha-based cooperative cited ongoing challenging economic conditions in the ethanol industry for the decision. AGP will continue to evaluate market conditions.
AGP also operates a soybean processing plant, vegetable oil refinery and an AminoPlus production facility at its industrial complex in Hastings. Those operations will not be impacted by the announcement.
According to the Tribune's Business Outlook section, the Hastings AGP location employs a total of 175 people.
"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, AGP CEO and general manager. "Our facility, like other corn processing plants in the Midwest, continues to experience negative margins due to higher corn prices by ongoing drought conditions and lower ethanol prices."
AGP is among the nation's largest producers of soy biodiesel, operating three plants in the Midwest with a combined capacity of 120 million gallons annually.
"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, home-grown source of energy," said Cal Meyer, AGP Group vice president.