How much will a corn milling facility impact business and life in Greater Grand Forks and the region? That question, in various forms, was asked several times by the Herald during a meeting last week with city and business development leaders.

The answer? Apparently, very much, showing that the efforts of those involved are commendable and the tools required to land this company – tax breaks and infrastructure upgrades, for instance – are worth it.

During a meeting with the Herald’s editorial board, Mayor Brandon Bochenski, City Administrator Todd Feland and Economic Development Corp. representatives Keith Lund and Brandon Baumbach all were optimistic about what Lund called “the largest single private capital investment in the region’s history.”

To recap: Asian company Fufeng Group has selected Grand Forks as the location for what is being called a “wet corn milling” facility that could consume as much as 25 million bushels of corn when it reaches peak capacity. The company’s new property is expected to take up a 370-acre site on the north edge of Grand Forks.

The projected total investment isn’t yet known, and the company has not yet disclosed what, exactly, it will produce at the plant.

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What is known is that it’s been a monthslong process that, in Gov. Doug Burgum’s words, represents “a huge opportunity for producers and workers in the Grand Forks area and our entire state.”

The Herald broke the news in a 1,500-word story Saturday morning. And even at that length, it’s difficult to be specific on what this could mean for the community. We’re still working on it.

In the meantime, here’s a rundown:

● Property taxes on the massive factory will, obviously, benefit the community. Although there are some temporary tax breaks being proposed – city, county and school boards will have to give approval – we don’t see it as a great hindrance, nor is it concerning. In the game of attracting big business, tax breaks are an inevitable part of the package.

● The school district will benefit, Bochenski and the others told us. Since the factory will require some 230 direct employees and another 500 or so who will be indirect workers – truck drivers, for instance – the city could see a swell of new families. If so, it will mean more per-pupil dollars coming to the district. In the extreme, it could mean rethinking new schools in the city.

● The ag industry will see changes, too. Here’s why, according to Baumbach: “The basis for corn has been historically lower in Grand Forks due to the extended expense related to the logistics of getting it to market. But a value-added project like this will immediately raise that price up and demand more acreage as well.”

● Hotels should see a boost during the building phase. Construction will require hundreds of workers. Local companies, we assume, will be used, but some out-of-market companies naturally will be involved, and their workers will need places to sleep and dine.

If all of this comes to fruition, it’s a great example of how economic development can boost so much in a community. Congratulations to the city and those involved for their work to bring this new project to Grand Forks.

DISCLOSURE: Herald Publisher Korrie Wenzel serves on the Economic Development Corp. board of directors.