CARTHAGE, MO. — Butterball LLC, a joint venture between Smithfield, Va.-based Smithfield Foods Inc. and Goldsboro, N.C.-based Maxwell Farms, is laying off 75 workers at its processing plant in Carthage, Mo., according to The Associated Press. The cuts will take effect March 1 when two deboning shifts are combined. Butterball had employed 685 people at the plant.

Keith Shoemaker, chief executive officer, blames the government's ethanol policies for dramatic increases in the cost of corn for the layoffs. Last year, the company sometimes paid three times more for corn than it did in 2006 and 2007, Mr. Shoemaker added. Skyrocketing corn prices were also blamed for discontinuing slaughtering operations at its Longmont, Colo. plant last year, eliminating about 490 jobs.

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