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BREAKING NEWS

Workers laid off; Corn Plus

By Staff | Jun 28, 2008

Despite all the rumors, Corn Plus in Winnebago has not closed temporarily.

“We’re running now. We haven’t stopped production,” Keith Kor, plant general manager, told the Register on Thursday.

The amount of ethanol produced was cut for one day, says Kor, because a portion of the facility was shut down.

He says the plant currently is not taking corn from farmers because, “we have corn in the bins.”

Kor would not comment on whether any employees have been recently laid off.

But, an employee — who did not want to be identified — says four people received “temporary” layoffs on Monday.

A Corn Plus board member says any questions about the plant must be directed at Kor, adding he did not know if anyone had been laid off or how many work at the facility.

A 2006 Winnebago housing study listed the ethanol producer as the city’s fourth largest employer with 45.

When Kor was asked if production has been cut in half, his response was simple: “That’s not true.”

Kor admits there are a lot of people talking about the plant and its operations.

Corn Plus isn’t alone in feeling the impact of an ailing economy.

The ethanol industry across the country in particular has felt the affects of high corn and fuel prices.

Demand for all types of fuel has decreased, as well as the profitability of producing ethanol.

Locally, VeraSun ethanol plants in Welcome and Hartley, Iowa, were scheduled to open this month. A company official cites an unfavorable market for putting the projects on hold.