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Good News and Bad News

Good news for ethanol

Tharaldson Ethanol is firing up. The Casselton, N.D., ethanol plant finished construction and hopes to begin turning out ethanol within the week. Amid all the doom and gloom about renewable energy it was good to hear the announcement. Poet, which is headquartered in Sioux Falls and has plants all around the Cornbelt made an announcement., too. It is beginning to operate its cellulosic ethanol pilot plant at Scotland, S.D. The Renewable Fuel Association is lobbying Congress for loans to see them through the economic downturn. If gasoline stays below $2, I’ll be surprised if they get it. Too bad corn growers and ethanol supporters created production subsidizes to help launch the biofuels industry. Incentives based on jobs created, corn purchased and rural economic development might have been easier to sell in a recession.


Will the Aberdeen beef plant ever get done?

The American News had a thorough report on the status on the beef plant at Aberdeen, S.D. The controversial project is a year behind schedule, hasn’t paid several contractors (it’s in court disputing several charges) and there’s a lot left to do. The manager is still looking for a May startup, but I don’t see how it will happen. Beside construction issues, I wonder who will work in the plant? Government officials seem to be taking a harder line on illegal immigrant workers in the Dakotas.


Stored corn dangerous

A North Dakota man died last week in a grain bin accident. News reports link the death to frozen corn in a bin. Apparently, the man went inside to break something loose. With all the corn that was combined late and wet, a lot more people are going to be at risk. Be careful out there.

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