New Ethanol Plant Follows Shifting Corn Production to Western South Dakota
South Dakota has long been the top wheat and sunflower growing state in the U.S., but corn cultivation is shifting across the state, taking acreage away from wheat. In 2003, Sully County, South Dakota ranked as the top producing country of all of South Dakota’s 66 counties for all wheat varieties and for sunflowers, but ranked 34th for corn grown for grain - planting 68,000 acres. By 2014, the county was planting 105,000 acres of corn and harvesting 100,000 acres - and as corn production increases and moves, the ethanol industry is following.
Noticing the westward shift in corn production, Iowa businessman and ethanol project developer, Walt Wendland chose Onida, South Dakota as the location for Ringneck Energy & Grain’s newest ethanol plant. Onida has two grain elevator companies, natural gas lines, rural water and electric service, rail access, and ample available feedstock, as all 15 current ethanol plants in the state are situated in the easternmost third of the state.
Ringneck Energy will be the state’s 16th ethanol plant, and will have the capacity to produce 70 million gallons of ethanol, 212,500 tons of distillers grains, and 12.5 million pounds of corn oil per year – production that will use about 25 million bushels of corn annually.