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Butterball to lay off 75 workers in Carthage

Saturday, January 10, 2009 | 4:16 p.m. CST

CARTHAGE — The nation's largest turkey company is laying off 75 workers at its processing plant in the southwest Missouri town of Carthage.

Butterball LLC announced Friday that the cuts will take effect March 1 as two deboning shifts are combined. Butterball had employed 685 people at the plant.

CEO Keith Shoemaker blames the government's ethanol policies for dramatic increases in the cost of corn, which is used as animal feed.

He says at some points in 2008 the company was paying three times more for corn than it did in 2006 and 2007.

Last year, the company also blamed soaring corn prices when it shut down slaughtering operations at a plant in Longmont, Colo., eliminating about 490 jobs.

Butterball is a joint venture between Smithfield, Va.-based pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. and Goldsboro, N.C.-based Maxwell Farms.

 


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