MEMPHIS, TENN. — Cargill said it will close its corn milling facility in Memphis by January 2015, citing “underutilization” and “location away from the Corn Belt.” The company employs approximately 440 people at the mill, of which 120 are contract employees. Cargill said the corn oil refinery will remain open and operate as a standalone facility to continue to serve customers.

“The decision to close our Memphis corn milling facility was made only after a careful examination of the current business situation and we examined all other possible options,” said Julian Chase, president of Cargill Corn Milling. “This was a difficult decision to make because we have an excellent team of employees in Memphis. It is unfortunate that we must close any plant because of the impact to good people, their families and the community.”

Cargill said it remains committed to its U.S. corn milling business and will leverage the rest of its network to continue to serve customers. Cargill also said it will continue to honor its community commitments in Memphis through the end of calendar year 2014.

In addition to Memphis, Cargill operates corn refining plants in Hammond, Ind.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Eddyville, Iowa; Blair, Neb.; Wahpeton, N.D.; and Dayton, Ohio, according to the Grain & Milling Annual 2013 published by Sosland Publishing Co.