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Published April 05, 2012, 09:26 PM

Dozens Out of Work After Walhalla ADM Plant Shutters

WALHALLA, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Thursday was the last day of work for employees at the Walhalla Archer Daniels Midland ethanol plant. ADM announced two months ago that it would be closing the plant and now the 61 employees have to find new jobs.

WALHALLA, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Thursday was the last day of work for employees at the Walhalla Archer Daniels Midland ethanol plant.

ADM announced two months ago that it would be closing the plant and now the 61 employees have to find new jobs.

As of 2 p.m., the plant locked its doors. For some, they've lost insurance benefits and 401K's but for others like Tom Cook, who's been forced to find another alternative job, it's just the way of life.

"It's just like one big family here," Cook said.

Part of a family of 61 who are now left behind, Cook says he made the plant his life.

"This is my town. Born and raised here, graduated here."

The Walhalla mayor is still having a hard time digesting it.

"It was a shocker, I couldn't believe it, it was terrible. I couldn't believe it right away. After the third or fourth phone call, it kind of sunk in," Mayor Chris Jackson said.

Citizens think the town of 1,100 will take a big hit. The owner of a guest house and eatery says she was always busy catering the ADM meetings.

"We did lunches for business meetings and things so its effected my business. I know it'll effect everything, the gas stations, the grocery stores," Deirdre Lee said.

Lloyd Northagen says he's lived in town for a short 43 years and isn't sure what is going to happen now.

"(It's) a foreclosure of this town. It'll be a number of years but it'll have a devastating effect," Northagen said.

People are hopeful the city of Walhalla and ADM will come to an agreement and fill the building with another business to give the town that boost ADM gave.

"We've been working very hard to try and find something that would work there and work with ADM to see what our options are," Jackson said.

But for now, the plant will remain empty. Tom Cook says he doesn't think he'd go back even if it were to re-open, for fear that he'd lose his job again.

"I don't know, I'm probably going to be happier on the road. But I know a lot of people that would come back here in a heartbeat," Cook said.

In the meantime, he say's he'll find other ways to make ends meet.

"We'll survive," Cook said.

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