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DUNDARRACH, NC (AP) — Officials at North Carolina’s first ethanol plant say they are halting production temporarily in hopes that high corn prices will drop.

The Fayetteville Observer reports Friday that Clean Burn Fuels in Hoke County will place an undetermined number of its 40 workers on furlough for two to three months until production resumes.

Company president Jack Carlisle said corn prices have doubled in the past few months largely due to increased demands from developing countries like China. Meanwhile, ethanol prices have risen only a quarter of that amount.

Agriculture analysts say farmers intend to raise more corn to feed the growing demand. Projections call for 92 million acres of corn to be grown in the US in 2011, compared to 88.2 million acres last year.

Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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