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August 20, 2001
9:28 AM

Dakota Ethanol, LLC: Another ’40-plus’ Online

South Dakota’s Fourth Ethanol Plant Opens Aug. 4, RFA Leader Credits Diligence of 950 Farmer-Owners

EI Staff Report

WENTWORTH, S.D. -- Compared to its contemporaries, the outward appearance of Dakota Ethanol, LLC -South Dakota’s new flagship 40 mmgy ethanol plant - is rather unexceptional. It’s almost become a cliche’ in this industry: “If you’ve seen one dry-mill plant, you’ve seen them all, right?”
Maybe so. But don’t judge this plant by its cover. Housed within those common steel buildings and surrounded by those familiar grain storage bins, dryers and distillation tanks is the “cutting-edge technology” that will drive Midwest corn-ethanol production to new heights, according to Dean Fredrickson, Dakota Ethanol, LLC plant operations manager.

‘Cutting Edge Technology’
“A lot of what’s inside our plant, of course, is proprietary-type information,” Fredrickson says when asked to describe what’s under the hood of this Broin-built and managed facility which celebrated it’s grand opening August 4. “I can only say that it’s not a ‘typical’ plant. . . we’re equipped with the latest technology, and Broin & Associates (of Sioux Falls, S.D.) is certainly the on top of it nationwide.”
Nearly 2100 people showed up in Wentworth for the plant’s grand opening celebration. Those in attendance included House Majority Leader Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.). Tours of the plant were given after the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. However, only certain parts of the plant were accessible to the public and cameras were not allowed inside the faciltiy.

Potential To Reach 50 mmgy
As is the case with other 40 mmgy Broin-built and managed designs, Dakota Ethanol will probably reach 50 mmgy within a year, according to a spokesperson for Lake Area Corn Processors (LACP), the 950-member farmer cooperative that invested nearly $15 million into the plant and is committed to delivering 7.5 million bushels of corn to the facility each year. That’s over half of the 14.8 bushels it will take to produce 40 mmgy, Fredrickson said, adding that the plant will consume 40,000 bushels of corn per day at full capacity. In addition, Dakota Ethanol will produce 120,000 tons of DDGS.
The $44 million facility employs 35, including Fredrickson, and is projected to bring $1.2 million in payroll to the Lake County community. Jeff Broin, CEO of Broin Companies, said Dakota Ethanol will bring $50 million in annual economic activity to the Interlakes (Lake County) region of South Dakota.

Ideal Location
Dakota Ethanol is located near Wentworth, S.D. (pop. 181), about 50 miles northwest of Sioux Falls, along Highway 34.
Among the most important factors to fall into place before the facility was constructed, Fredrickson said, was location: sufficient transportation lines - truck and rail - regional support and a high level of interest from Lake County farmer-investors. “It was all there. Everything was in place,” he said.

A South Dakota Success Story
From the start, high praise was given Dakota Ethanol and the impressive Lake County cooperative effort that made the plant a reality.
The initial concept took shape in the late months of 1998, when an informational meeting was held to spark interest in the idea of building a plant. A year and a half later, in April 2000, the project had already broken ground.
One of the LACP members marked the groundbreaking with these inspirational words: “A new building needs some of the same things as a new animal or plant. It needs a good start, nurturing and guidance, discipline, perseverance and faith,” he said.
More words of praise were delivered by Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen after Dakota Ethanol took in its first shipment of grain August 3.
“Dakota Ethanol is the latest example of the ethanol industry expanding to meet the growing demand,” Dinneen said in a statement released by the RFA. “We congratulate the farmer-owners of Dakota Ethanol and thank them for their commitment to the record breaking expansion taking place in the ethanol industry today.”