Auction Feb. 1 for operating ethanol plant in Rosholt, SD

By Holly Jessen | January 26, 2011

North Country Ethanol LLC, a 25 MMgy ethanol plant in Rosholt, S.D., will go on the auction block Feb. 1, with sealed bids due by 5 p.m. Although four other ethanol plant auctions were held in the fall and early winter of 2010, what makes this auction different is that the plant is still operating. “We have worked to maintain and operate the plant so that a new owner could easily continue operations with a knowledgeable and dedicated staff with a plant that has a proven track record,” said OJ Spooner, a member of the creditors’ group.

The ethanol plant was retrofitted by ICM Inc. in 2004 and in the spring of 2005 resumed operations after standing idle for two years. The company filed for bankruptcy October 2008, said Jeff Kistner, president of Flag Leaf Financial Management Inc. A year later an agreement was forged to allow the plant to resume operations.

North County Ethanol currently produces between 24.8 to 27 MMgy with a 2.8 conversion yield but is permitted for 40 MMgy. The plant received initial approval to sell ethanol in British Columbia,. It is located on 35 acres about half a mile from a grain elevator, has access to the Canadian Pacific Railroad and is part of the Roberts County Tax Increment District (TIF), which matures May 15, 2020.

The location provides some of the lowest-cost corn in the country and a good local distillers grains market, Kistner said. The four year average corn production is 65.1 million bushels in a 30-mile radius of the plant. Of that total, the ethanol plant only needs 8 percent of the average production, according to information from Flag Leaf Financial. The ethanol plant provides a strong market for area corn producers who generally export corn due to weak local demand.

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