Mark Merchen took this photo last week of the full moon, also known as Snow Moon, over Ringneck Energy. The steam from the ethanol plant looked especially dense on that cold night.

The Onida Watchman was on hand when the first kernels began their journey toward ethanol, and the Ringneck Energy ethanol plant began accepting corn.

Ringneck Energy CEO Walt Wendland recalls that the plant didn’t substantially open until May of 2019, but in February is “when we opened the corn pits for delivery.”

The event was also marked with a ribbon cutting. “It was a big day,” said Wendland. After more than three years of incubation, Wendland says the milestone marked that “we were doing business for real.”

A few hiccups were experienced along the way to the smooth operation the plant is currently experiencing. “Now that we’ve kind of got everything leveled out, it’s much easier to calculate our grain needs.”

The plant is grinding 2.5 million bushels of corn per month which factors out to “pretty close to 30 million bushels per year.” Wendland says that corn makes up more than 95% of the grain the plant accepts. “The balance is milo.”

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