Construction begins; ethanol plant may boost prices

South Dakota State Roundup

Published October 1, 1991  | October 1991 issue

Construction began in September near Aberdeen on what will become South Dakota's largest ethanol-producing plant, and corn growers in the area hope prices for their commodity will increase.

The $8 million plant, which will be completed by spring 1993, will employ about 25, use 1.4 million bushels of corn a year and produce about four million gallons of ethanol. By 1998 the plant can be expanded to produce eight million gallons.

"We hope it will help the local market for corn," says Berland Losinger, controller for the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association in Aberdeen, which will own 51 percent of the joint-venture plant. Farmland Industries Inc., an agricultural co-op from Kansas City, Mo., will own the other 49 percent.

Losinger wouldn't estimate how much the price of corn may rise in the Aberdeen area, but reports from other ethanol plants in South Dakota indicate that prices on the local corn market have generally risen a few cents a bushel.

The new ethanol plant shouldn't have a problem selling its product, Losinger says, which will be marketed in North and South Dakota. South Dakota is the largest user of ethanol-blended fuels per capita in the country, and 1991 ethanol use is already up 30 percent from last year. Sixty percent of the state's gas stations offer ethanol-blended fuels.

David Fettig