LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Premium Protein Products has again extended furloughs that began in June for about 400 workers.

Workers received word of the latest furlough extensions via a recorded phone message on Tuesday.

The employees of the company's plants in Hastings and Lincoln have been out of work since the furloughs began, and Premium Protein's plants will remain closed at least until Oct. 20.

Company officials did not immediately respond to a message The Associated Press left on Tuesday.

Premium Protein has its headquarters and a processing plant in Lincoln, and its slaughterhouse is in Hastings. The company specializes in providing beef, pork and chicken with a verified source.

Private equity firm Matlin Patterson in New York is the majority owner of the company.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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