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Published August 28, 2012, 12:36 PM

Ethanol plants slowed, shuttered by drought

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — The drought covering much of the United States is affecting ethanol plants, with a growing number either closing or cutting back on production.

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — The drought covering much of the United States is affecting ethanol plants, with a growing number either closing or cutting back on production.

The plants are reacting to spiking prices or limited supplies of corn. Minnesota Public Radio reports that at least seven ethanol plants have been idled since summer began in Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Kansas and other states.

Geoff Cooper, a vice president of research and analysis for the Renewable Fuels Association, says most of the industry is breaking even or losing money.

The idled plants include the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls. Plant officials told MPR it doesn't make economic sense to keep running. It's not clear when it will re-open.

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