Ringneck Energy Chief Financial Officer since January 2019, Danci Baker says that she saw in Ringneck Energy a company that fits with her passion for agriculture. “I am fiercely loyal to ag,” said Baker. “Anything that can help ag, especially those in the local community, I’m all in.”
Baker grew up in a ranch family in northwestern South Dakota, and attended country school through eighth grade. For high school, Baker took the bus one hour in each direction to Lemmon, SD. “We were very fortunate to live in a district that bussed,” said Baker. “We only had to drive six miles to catch the bus.” While in high school, Baker participated in volleyball and was a student manager for football.
After earning a degree in Ag Business with a minor in Communications from South Dakota State University, Baker spent more than a dozen years in ag finance for two different entities. “My history is in the finance world,” said Baker. “Ringneck is my first time working in ethanol.”
Baker makes her home northwest of Fort Pierre, and says that after her hour long bus rides in high school, she didn’t balk at her one hour commute; she saw in Ringneck a “great opportunity in my backyard.”
“Ringneck is a grassroots company,” said Baker. “There are so many local investors. Having grown up on a ranch, I can see the value in the feedstuff we make that gives back to the ag community, not to mention the additional jobs to help sustain a rural community.”
Although she is new to the industry, Baker says that there are similarities to work she has done previously. “Balance sheets and income statements are universal,” said Baker. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in ag, manufacturing, or Main Street small business, that language is all the same. It’s exciting to still be in that part of the finance world.”
“It’s been really exciting to me to learn about ethanol,” she continued. “It’s much more intricate than I thought. There’s so much more we produce that contributes so much to the ag industry, and it’s fun to be part of an organization that has that diversity.”
Baker says the change from ag finance to ethanol has been good. “I’m happy to be here, and appreciative of the team that’s been put in place. Everyone sets everyone else up to succeed. As a team, we’re able to step in and help out where we’re needed. Not every business has that camaraderie – we can bounce ideas off each other and teach each other. The combination of people with a lot of ethanol experience and those from other industries makes us stronger as a management team which trickles down to the rest of the team. It makes us progressive, and when we experience hiccups, it’s not a big deal, because we’re all working in the same direction.”
Coming full circle, Baker says she actually got her start in the area, having been born in Gettysburg and lived her first year in Agar.
Married with two children, a seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son who attend school at St. Joseph’s in Pierre, Baker says “Ranch is what we do for fun. Both my husband and I grew up in the rodeo world. We have horses on our place. Any chance we get, we’re riding, checking, hauling and / or moving cows. We run cattle and sheep at my folks. We spent last weekend calving and delivering lambs up there.”