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Fairmont ethanol plant idled

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 10/16/2012 2:14 PM

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FAIRMONT, Minn. — Farmers continue to deliver corn and contracts are being honored at Biofuel Energy Corporation's Fairmont plant.

The company idled its 110-million-gallon ethanol plant the third week of September because of low operating margins. Its second plant in Wood River, Neb., continues to operate.

"Commodity margins have continued to weaken as the impact of the drought in the Corn Belt continues and ethanol remains in surplus," said Scott H. Pearce, the company's president and chief executive officer. "As a result, our current expectations are that the Fairmont plant will remain idle until we are able to secure local corn at price levels that support better margins."

The plant is in "hot idle," a spokesman said, meaning that employees are still coming to work and the hope is to restart the plant on short notice.

Biofuel Energy Corporation is based in Denver. It owns the two ethanol plants, both 110-million-gallon plants.