Epitome Energy LLC has selected Grand Forks, North Dakota, to be the location of a $400 million soybean crushing plant that will help create new market opportunities for area farmers who lack access to a nearby processing facility.
Epitome Energy had been considering other locations, including working with local leaders and selecting a site in Crookston, Minnesota.
According to reports, after a year-and-a-half wait for Minnesota to complete its review of Epitome’s permit applications, the company explored the Grand Forks area as an alternative and found city leaders highly receptive to a development agreement, said Dennis Egan, founder and CEO of Epitome Energy.
“From the start, our plan has been to build a business that supports soybean farmers, creates jobs and boosts the regional economy – Grand Forks has provided the opportunity,” Egan said.
Facility will produce degummed soybean oil, meal and hulls
The facility will process up to 42 million bushels of soybeans per year into crude degummed soybean oil, meal and hulls.
The company says its planned crush plant in Grand Forks is projected to strengthen the basis for soybeans by 20 to 25 cents/bushel.
For many farmers in the Red River Valley, the nearest facility capable of processing their crop is over 100 miles away. Without nearby processing, soybeans in the Red River Valley are regularly among the lowest-priced in the country, because farmers pay higher transportation costs for their crop and are limited in the markets they are able to reach, said Egan.
“This project will put more money in the pockets of hardworking farmers in the Red River Valley region by helping them reach more markets to meet the growing demand for soybeans,” said Egan. “We are excited to be moving forward with our project in Grand Forks, which is truly becoming an epicenter for agribusiness.”
Ground breaking expected summer of 2023
Epitome Energy has executed a letter of intent for a greenfield site just north of Grand Forks that features full access to rail, freeways and all necessary utilities.
Fagen, Inc. has been selected as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) partner for the project. Fagen, Inc. is a leading EPC contractor in soybean processing plant construction, with three soybean processing plants currently under construction.
When operational, the facility will create 50 to 60 permanent jobs.
The Epitome Energy project is expected to break ground in the summer of 2023, with operations to begin in the fall of 2025.
North Dakota is becoming a leader of soybeans and soy products
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Epitome Energy’s plant reinforces the state's status as a leading producer of soybeans and soy products.
“Remarkably, with this announcement, in less than two years North Dakota has gone from having zero soybean processing to having three planned soybean crushing plants with the capacity to process roughly 75% of our state’s annual soybean production," said Burgum.
"These are game changers that enhance North Dakota’s leadership in feeding and fueling the world.”