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Georgia ethanol plant temporarily halts production

ALBANY — Georgia's largest ethanol facility has announced a temporary halt in production.

Southwest Georgia Ethanol LLC cited higher corn prices in the Midwest for the decision.

Lower crop yields stemming from lengthy drought conditions are prompting the increased prices, company official said.

The move comes strictly as a response to market conditions and that the plant had the funds to delay Midwestern corn purchases even until the next crop year, said Murray Campbell, Southwest Georgia Ethanol's president and co-founder.

In the meantime, the company is writing local contracts for 2013 corn and accepting grain sorghum that was planted for Southwest Georgia Ethanol.

To supply its local ethanol customers, the Pelham plant is working with its distribution partner, Eco-Energy, to transport ethanol by railcar and by truck.

Campbell said he foresaw no impending ethanol shortages for customers or end-consumers. Typically, Southwest Georgia Ethanol purchases 20 to 25 percent of its corn products from local growers.

"We had an excellent corn crop in Georgia this year," Campbell said. "While we can't match the corn volume of the Midwest, it makes a great rotation crop for peanuts."