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VA Barley Ethanol Plant for Sale

By: STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press Writer
By: STEVE SZKOTAK - Associated Press Writer

Virginia farmers who added tens of thousands of acres of barley won't be left holding the bag now that a $150 million ethanol plant in Hopewell is up for sale.

Perdue Agribusiness says it will honor contracts with farmers who agreed to supply barley to Osage Bio Energy. Osage announced Monday it's putting the plant up for sale, citing changing market conditions.

Perdue Agribusiness spokesman Joe Forsthoffer said the Salisbury, Maryland company was under contract with Osage to deliver the barley, and will purchase the Virginia crop for other markets.

Virginia growers increased their barley acreage by up to 50 percent, banking on the 30 million bushels Osage was expected to process annually.

Forsthoffer could not provide details on the payments, saying they vary from grower to grower.

Osage spokeswoman Heather Scott says the private equity firm that owns most of its stock has decided to sell.

The company was started in 2007 and set about building the plant, which was to produce up to 65 million gallons of ethanol from as many as 30 million bushels of barley every year.

Osage says the plant is ready for production. Construction started in 2008.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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