Grand Forks City Council members give early OK to create development agreement for soybean crushing plant
City Administrator Todd Feland said the development agreement with Epitome Energy will have some similarities with the Fufeng USA development agreement council members approved earlier in the year
GRAND FORKS – A week after Epitome Energy publicly announced Grand Forks as the site of a $400 million soybean crushing plant, the City Council on Monday gave preliminary approval authorizing a development agreement for the project.
City Administrator Todd Feland said the development agreement with Epitome Energy will have some similarities with the Fufeng USA development agreement council members approved earlier in the year.
Both agreements seek to address a variety of environmental and infrastructure matters, including water supply, wastewater, stormwater, transportation, solid waste and emissions. They also deal with other matters, like planning, zoning and essential city services.
Some notable differences for the Epitome Energy development agreement are in relation to the annexation of the land, which is in Rye Township, as the city will only annex the property needed for the soybean crushing facility.
Feland said those in the township have shared their interest in Grand Forks taking the lead for the project by taking on the needed essential services, infrastructure and zoning.
“They welcome all of that,” Feland said. “They want to be part of the process, but they want us to take the lead on all of that.”
Another difference is the tax incentive for the project. While the city had already pre-negotiated a tax incentive for the Fufeng project, Feland said the city is working through the particulars as council members will have more engagement on the incentives for the soybean crushing plant.
At last week’s council meeting, Epitome Energy CEO and founder Dennis Egan presented the council with more information about the plant, including the scope of service and timeline for when the plant will start operating.
The full-service soybean crush plant will require 50-60 full-time employees in Grand Forks. The plant will process an estimated 120,000 bushels, or approximately 110 truckloads, of soybeans per day. More than 940,000 tons of soybean meal, 60 million gallons of soybean oil and 84,000 tons of soybean hulls are anticipated to be produced each year.
The goal is for construction on the plant to begin in the summer with the facility to become operational by the fall of 2025.
The City Council will give final review and approval to the development agreement when the agreement is completed.
In other news Monday, council members:
- Gave preliminary approval to extend a letter of intent agreement with Northern Plains Nitrogen, LLP for another six months from Dec. 31 to June 30, 2023.
- Considered making an amendment to city code, which at present authorizes the chief of police to designate snowmobile routes within the city limits annually. After the 2022-2023 snowmobile route was determined last week, council members discussed amending the city code so the City Council would be in charge of authorizing the routes.
- Reviewed several budget amendments for Public Works, Public Health and the Police Department.