South Dakota panel changes some Ag-loan agreements

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A state government panel that helps finance agricultural processing projects in South Dakota took several actions Thursday.

The Value Added Finance Authority decisions affect an ethanol plant that opened recently in Sully County and a manure-digesting system proposed for dairies along the I-29 corridor.

Authority members agreed to add Ring-neck Energy and Feed of Onida to a $22,500 state loan that was made in 2014 to Walt Wendland and Chris Schwark for a feasibility study of whether to build the ethanol plant.

“It would make all three parties liable. That was the recommendation of our attorney,” Terri LaBrie, the board’s executive director, said.

The authority officially switches July 1 to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development from the state Department of Agriculture.

“We’re up and running. We had our first annual meeting on Tuesday,” Wendland told authority members during the teleconference meeting Thursday. He added, “Things are going really well.”

LaBrie said payment of the state debt would start in September and be spread across five years.

The authority also granted another six-month extension to Global Dairy until December 31 for full payment of $80,866. The authority previously made two loans — $33,750 in 2014 and $50,900 in 2015 — to the Estelline company for a feasibility study. The business is working on a manure-digester system for dairy farms.

“We definitely will have everything closed by September, October,” Michael Crinion told authority members.

Said Cheri Rath, executive director for the South Dakota Value Added Agriculture Development Center: “This was one of those projects that take a while.”

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