New ownership brings stability and growth to Nebraska ethanol plant

Source: By NTV • Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It feels like the fog has lifted, as steam rises above the stars and stripes at the KAAPA Ethanol plant in Ravenna.

The once-bankrupt plant was under foreign ownership, and dealt with shutdownsand bankruptcy under Spain-based Abengoa.

Now, farmer–owned KAAPA Ethanol, a central Nebraska company, isn’t wasting time carrying out big plans at the site.

Paul Kenney, chairman of the board for KAAPA said, “We’re trying to put our own footprint on it, trying to change it to a little bit of our technology, change the grain side of it.”

KAAPA made a successful bid of $115 million, and took ownership last fall. Kenney said one of the biggest needs was for more grain storage.

“That’s part of the philosophy we know how we like to dump corn, we dump fast, we like to be state of the art in our ethanol production,” he said.

It’s KAAPA’s second plant in the area, building on 14 years of success with a plant near Minden.

CEO Chuck Woodside said, “It’s got a great history, we’ve got great owners, the earnings stay here in central Nebraska and that is a benefit as well.”

And as the number two ethanol producing state, the governor says it’s great economic development.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said, “KAAPA’s re–opening and making new investments, about $40 million investments, and expanding capacity 30 percent. That’s really exciting and demonstrates importance of ethanol to our state.”

Ethanol consumes about a third of Nebraska’s corn, and farmers say they don’t want to think how much lower corn prices would be without it.

KAAPA leaders say this plant will also help cattle feeders, who use the wet and dry distillers grains that come out of the plant as a byproduct.

Corn, cattle, and ethanol makes up what state leaders like to call the “golden triangle.”

Woodside said, “We provide great jobs here in central Nebraska and we produce almost 200 million gallons once this is done of a clean burning American energy and I think that’s one of the other great things we’re able to do for the area.”

KAAPA leaders say they’re making an investment of $188 million in Buffalo County, making them one of the biggest private investors in the county.