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The Boston Globe

Business

Corn shortage idles 20 ethanol plants

Fuel is plentiful, but long drought could cut supply

ST. LOUIS — The persistent drought is taking a toll on producers of ethanol, with corn becoming so scarce that 20 ethanol plants have halted production.

The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group, provided data showing that of the nation’s 211 ethanol plants, 20 have ceased production over the past year, including five in January. Most remain open, with workers performing maintenance-type tasks. But ethanol production probably won’t resume until after 2013 corn is harvested in late August or September.

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