U.S. Air Force: Corn milling project near Grand Forks presents “significant threat to national security”

February 2, 2023

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KFGO) – After nearly a year and a half of local, state, and national debates and reviews, it appears the proposed $700 million Fufeng Corn Milling project near the Grand Forks Air Force Base will not be built.

“The proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area,” assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics Andrew P. Hunter wrote in a letter to Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer.

Fufeng Group is a Chinese food manufacturer that purchased 370 acres of land recently in north Grand Forks, about 12 miles from the Air Force Base.

In a joint letter, Hoeven and Cramer said the Air Force has left ambiguity off the table in their stance on the project.

“As we have recommended, we believe the city should discontinue the Fufeng project and instead we should work together to find an American company to develop the agriculture project,” the senators said.

Hoeven said he thinks it’s time to look for another company.

The federal government has contended that the project is a threat to national security because of heightened tensions between the U.S. and China since the project was announced.

Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski said the Federal Government has requested the City’s help in stopping the project. He said the only remedies the City has to meet this directive is to refuse to connect industrial infrastructure and deny building permits.

“As mayor of the City of Grand Forks, I am requesting these remedies be undertaken and the project be stopped, pending City Council approval,” Bochenski said.

Bochenski said Fufeng already owns the land, but he’ll ask the city council to deny building permits and industrial infrastructure to the site.

In December, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States said it conducted an extensive review and decided that it does not have jurisdiction over the proposed Fufeng USA corn milling plant in Grand Forks.