A corn-based ethanol plant in the northeast South Dakota town of Rosholt has reopened after sitting idle for 18 months.
Thirty employees are working in production at the Red River Energy plant, which began grinding corn on Monday.
"The margins are good in ethanol, corn is abundant at this point with a record crop coming in," general manager Rick Serie told the Public Opinion in Watertown. "We're optimistic about our future here. We have to get up and operating at full capacity, but we see good margins being a success for the investors and the community"
Serie admitted there could be some hiccups after the plant sat idle for so long, "but we're working through them," he said. "We have a real experienced staff that knows how to fix and tweak as we start up."
Officials plan to ramp up annual production from 25 million gallons to 40 million gallons, and launch other projects including corn oil extraction and increased storage capacity for ethanol and distillers grains—a byproduct used as livestock feed.
The plant is operated by Kansas-based ICM Inc., under the management of Energy Management Solutions. A skeleton crew took care of the facility after it was idled in early 2012.