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FLOODWATERS SQUELCH PRODUCTION AT MIDWEST GRAIN'S ATCHISON PLANT

 ATCHISON, Kan., July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Floodwaters from the Missouri River have forced Midwest Grain Products, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: MWGP), to temporarily halt plant operations in Atchison.
 Pumping stations which supply cooling water for the plant's distillery process from four wells in nearby Winthrop, Mo., were shut down yesterday after being inundated by the flood. The pumps transport approximately three-fourths of the plant's entire water needs through a mile-long pipeline.
 Ladd Seaberg, president and CEO, said that while there will be an obvious short-term impact on operations in Atchison, the company's plant in Pekin, Ill., continues to produce at normal capacities. He added, however, that shipments of raw materials and finished goods have posed challenges at both plants due to the flooding of numerous railways and highways throughout the country's midsection.
 "It's a challenging time for all of us," Seaberg said, "but we'll do everything in our power to reduce the severity of the situation and minimize inconveniences to customers and employees."
 At this time, about half of the plant's 200 production workers are being laid off, according to Dave Rindom, corporate director of human resources. The company plans to keep as many employees on the job as possible during the shutdown by using the period to complete extensive plantwide maintenance projects that were scheduled for later in the year, he said.
 From the time flooding along the Missouri became imminent, conditions near the pumping stations were kept under close watch by the company. Although many homes and other buildings in lower elevations around Winthrop were consumed by floodwaters early on, the pumps were not seriously threatened until Friday when the river broke through large sections of a levee north of the community. Excessive rainfall over the weekend added to the water's quick rise and subsequent shutdown of the pumping stations.
 Randy Schrick, vice president of operations, emphasized that the plant itself continues to be safe from high waters and that no processing equipment has incurred any damage. "We were able to stop the production processes in a systematic and orderly manner and are prepared to put them back in full operation as soon as the pumps can be reactivated," Schrick said.
 Schrick could not predict when the pumps might be switched back on, saying that would be dependent on how quickly the high waters recede.
 "The best we can do right now," Schrick said, "is monitor the situation and be ready to act the instant the opportunity arrives."
 Midwest Grain produces vital wheat gluten and premium wheat starch in Atchison, along with beverage, fuel and high quality industrial alcohol and several byproducts.
 -0- 7/26/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Pickman of Midwest Grain Products, 913-367-1480/
 (MWGP)


CO: Midwest Grain Products, Inc. ST: Kansas IN: FOD SU:

MH-TW -- DC009 -- 5584 07/26/93 10:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 26, 1993
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