The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced this week that Epitome Energy LLC has selected Grand Forks, N.D., to be the location of a $400 million soybean crushing plant. Epitome had originally chosen Crookston, Minn., but due to delays from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) review of permit applications, the company found an alternative site.
The Epitome plant will be able to process up to 42 million bushels of soybeans per year into crude degummed soybean oil, meal and hulls, which will provide economic stability and greater profitability for the region’s farmers.
“We are grateful to welcome Epitome Energy to North Dakota,” Commerce Commissioner Josh Teigen said. “The new soybean crushing plant will be a great asset for local farmers and the state’s agricultural economic system as it will create new local market opportunities for soybeans. North Dakota has firmly cemented itself as a soybean powerhouse with three crush facilities announced in 2022 alone. This is a huge win for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and we would like to thank and congratulate them for their success in taking the lead on this project and making North Dakota home to Epitome Energy.”
Epitome Energy estimates that the Grand Forks soybean crushing facility will strengthen farmers’ basis for soybeans by 20-25 cents per bushel by enabling farmers to process soybeans closer to home.
“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,” Epitome Energy Founder and CEO Dennis Egan said. “We are excited to be moving forward with our project in Grand Forks, which is truly becoming an epicenter for agribusiness.”
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., the largest green energy design-builder in the U.S., will lead engineering and construction. The project is expected to break ground in the summer of 2023, with operations to begin in the fall of 2025.
Crookston Community Director Kari Kirschbaum told KROX that the announcement was bad news for the city.
“We’re obviously extremely sad that Epitome is going to North Dakota, but we understand that the North Dakota Pollution Control Agency is much more friendly than the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and it makes sense for that organization and the investors,” Kirschbaum explained. “But, on the same part, it leaves a big hole for us, and we’re really sad to hear the news.”
Fortunately, farmers of Crookston will still be able to use that facility as it is only a 20-minute drive, she added.