Epitome Energy moves soybean-crush project from Crookston, Minnesota, to Grand Forks, North Dakota
Epitome Energy LLC announced Dec. 5 that it 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 farmers in Northeast North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota who lack access to a nearby processing facility.
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, providing economic stability and greater profitability for the region’s farmers.
“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 Dennis Egan, founder and CEO of Epitome Energy. “We are excited to be moving forward with our project in Grand Forks, which is truly becoming an epicenter for agribusiness.”
Soybeans are the growing agricultural crop in the Red River Valley, but they are some of the lowest-priced in the country because many farmers are more than 100 miles from the nearest processing facility. By enabling farmers to process soybeans closer to home, Epitome’s value-add soy-crushing facility will strengthen farmers’ basis for soybeans by 20 cents to 25 cents per bushel, the company estimates.
“This is a tremendous investment in our local economy, further cementing our agribusiness dominance as Grand Forks continues to punch above our weight class,” said Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski. “Epitome’s soybean crush facility is an important piece of the puzzle for our soybean farmers who will need to reach new markets in the future.”
When fully operational, the crush facility will create 50 to 60 new permanent jobs while indirectly supporting an additional 800 jobs in and around Grand Forks, helping drive economic growth and adding new value to the area’s already thriving agribusiness environment.
“Epitome Energy’s plant reinforces our status as a leading producer of soybeans and soy products,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. “This significant investment in our state will add value for soybean growers, support growth in renewable fuels and the livestock industry, and strengthen our overall economy. 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 percent of our state’s annual soybean production. These are game changers that enhance North Dakota’s leadership in feeding and fueling the world.”
Epitome Energy had been considering other locations, including working with local leaders and selecting a site in Crookston, Minnesota. 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, Egan said.
“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.
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 is a leading EPC contractor in soybean processing plant construction, with three soybean processing plants currently under construction.
Oilseed extraction technology provider Crown Iron Works is also involved in the project.
The Epitome Energy project is expected to break ground in summer 2023, with operations to begin in fall 2025.