Ethanol plant near Mitchell to celebrate decade of operation

November 7, 2016 01:50 PM

LOOMIS, S.D. (AP) — In the past 10 years, an ethanol plant in the Mitchell area has produced 650 million gallons of ethanol and 1.8 million tons of animal feed.

The Poet ethanol plant plans to celebrate its first decade in operation on Wednesday, The Daily Republic reported.

In 2012, the company started extracting corn oil from its feed, producing more than 45,000 tons of high-protein feed rather than high-fat. Becky Pitz, the plant's general manager, said the plant has purchased 200 million bushels of corn and paid more than $1 billion to 1,640 farmers and 65 elevators. The company employs 45 people in Mitchell and 10 of those employees have been with the company since it opened.

"It's pretty awesome we've been here for 10 years and made such a big impact on the local economy," said Pitz.

Pitz said the demand for wet animal feed is higher in Mitchell than any other Poet location.

"When economic times are good, you want to produce as much as you can," Pitz said. "We're in probably the top tier of the plants (by production)."

The facility just north of Loomis is the second westernmost plant in Poet's 27-plant network.

While the plant made some changes in 2006 by expanding its rail line and adding equipment storage, Pitz doesn't anticipate any more changes happening any time soon.

"On my radar right now, no, there isn't," she said. "But ask me in six months, there could be."

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