Age and high utility costs are forcing a Hastings, NE, ethanol plant that temporarily shut down in February not to reopen.

The Ag Processing Inc. cooperative said Friday that it is permanently shutting down the 55-million-gallon-a-year plant, citing the plant’s age and high utility costs associated with running it.

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Officials cited a slowdown in the economy, high corn prices and low oil prices for the temporary shutdown.

Matt Caswell, vice president of corporate relations with AGP in Omaha, said the company didn’t see “any turn-around in the industry anytime soon.”

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Most of the plant’s 43 employees found jobs within AGP’s other operations in Hastings. AGP also operates a soybean processing plant, vegetable oil refinery and an AminoPlus production facility in the city.

APG says none of those facilities suffered an impact by the closing of the ethanol plant.

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