by Greta Silewski, Grand Forks City Public Affairs Manager
In what could be the largest private sector investment in the city’s history, Fufeng Group Ltd. has chosen Grand Forks, ND for its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility. The company is a global leader in bio-fermentation; manufacturing products that serve animal nutrition, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, health and wellness, oil & gas, and other industries.
Fufeng Group Ltd. conducted an extensive nationwide search for a suitable location that could support the project with 25 sites ultimately being submitted by local governments for consideration. After a 16-month comprehensive evaluation process, Grand Forks has been selected. The site chosen is approximately 370 acres in Grand Forks’ agri-business park. The facility is expected to initially require 25 million bushels of corn annually.
“Adding value to our corn and other raw commodities is critical to North Dakota’s long-term economic success, and this value-added project represents a huge opportunity for producers and workers in the Grand Forks area and our entire state,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “We’re grateful for the leadership by Mayor Bochenski, city and county officials and the Grand Forks Region EDC in moving this important project closer to fruition.”
“It is exciting to get this project near the finish line after more than a year of work and diligence,” said Mayor Brandon Bochenski. “We couldn’t have gotten this far without the tremendous support of Governor Burgum, Lt. Governor Sanford, the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, Grand Forks County, and various city departments. This project has truly brought out the best in all of us.”
“We expect the construction of phase one to employ up to 1,000 workers for up to 3 years,” said Keith Lund, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation President and CEO. “Once operational we anticipate 233 direct jobs and 525 indirect jobs will be created, for a total of over 750 new jobs in our region. The economic impact of this historic development will be extraordinary.”
“We are extremely excited to make Grand Forks our North American home.” said Eric Chutorash COO of Fufeng USA Incorporated. “From the very beginning, we felt that Grand Forks was a great place to be located. It was evident early on that there was strong collaboration between the local and state government as well as with non-governmental partners and this became even more apparent as our evaluation process went on. They all really stepped up to make sure our project’s needs were met and the manufacturing site would be successful now and for the long-term.”
Fufeng Group Ltd’s Chairman, President of Overseas Development, and the US-based team are planning to be in Grand Forks the week of November 15th to meet with state and local leaders to further continue the due diligence and work towards getting a development agreement completed. The final approval is subject to various terms and conditions set forth under a yet signed development agreement.