September 26, 2013 / 8:16 PM / 4 years ago

Bunge says Kansas soy processor could restart next week

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Bunge Ltd will restart its soybean processing plant in eastern Kansas within the next few weeks after it receives enough freshly harvested beans to crush, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The company anticipates resuming operations at the processor in Emporia during the “first week of October,” spokeswoman Deb Seidel said.

“Obviously, that depends on the weather and how quickly farmers get in the fields to harvest,” she said.

Two nearby soy processors owned by Cargill Inc - in Kansas City, Missouri, and Wichita, Kansas - were shut down for all or part of this week due to tight existing soy supplies and a slow start to the harvest, trade sources said.

Bunge idled the Emporia plant in April following a drought-reduced harvest in 2012 that left soybean supplies at the lowest levels in nine years.

The company said in April it laid off a third of the processor’s 66 workers. Those workers were hired back and resumed employment earlier this month, Seidel said.

Widespread spring planting delays pushed back the autumn harvest, with the Kansas soybeans 1 percent harvested as of Sunday, compared with 5 percent a year earlier, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

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