Exciting news for Southeast South Dakota corn producers was recently announced as the former VeraSun Marion, S.D., ethanol plant will become NuGen Energy, LLC. NuGen is a licensed and fully bonded ethanol plant which is wholly-owned by Central Farmers Cooperative of Marion, S.D.
The move will reinvigorate confidence and greater security for producers by reestablishing a 33 million bushel market for area corn. The 100 million gallon plant will operate at capacity immediately. The plant has been producing ethanol since June of 2009 after having been idled briefly in the fall of 2008 due to the uncertainty of the VeraSun bankruptcy.
“Central Farmers Cooperative fought hard to shield the Marion ethanol plant from acquisition by outside interests, dedicating themselves to keeping ownership local and maintaining this vital market for area producers,” said Bill Chase, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “Their perseverance is admirable and applauded.”
According to Steve Domm, general manager of Central Farmers Cooperative, two key objectives were extremely important to NuGen throughout negotiations on the terms of purchase of the Marion plant.
“First and foremost, we wanted to make sure all corn delivery contract holders were offered compensation for the difference between the price of corn under their corn delivery contracts with VeraSun and the current price of corn,” said Domm. “Secondly, adequate financing terms were needed to enable the plant’s long term success. We believe both of these objectives have been achieved.”
As South Dakota producers gear up to harvest one of its biggest crops on record with 5 million acres planted to corn this season, establishing NuGen Energy solidifies the viability of a key corn market in southeast South Dakota.
“This market is critically needed for the additional bushels of corn we produce every year on basically the same number of acres due to the increasing efficiency of our producers,” said Chase. “In addition, the jobs and economic impact NuGen Energy brings to the local communities is a stimulus package of its own.”