Northern Plains Nitrogen announced on Thursday its plans to build a $1.5 billion nitrogen fertilizer production facility northwest of Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Northern Plains Nitrogen was created by farmers in the Northern Plains as a result of research conducted by North Dakota State University. The research was funded by the Corn Growers Organizations of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, and the Manitoba Canola and North Dakota Soybean Councils.

The plant will produce nitrogen-based fertilizers by converting natural gas into anhydrous ammonia and urea.

Currently, the fertilizer is imported to the area from countries such as Egypt, China and Saudi Arabia.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Grand Forks, the state of North Dakota and the Northern Plains,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “This plant will utilize the increasing supplies of natural gas across the region and will provide a reliable regional supply of fertilizer while reducing producers’ dependence on imported products.”

The plant will have a capacity of 2,200 tons per day and will produce in excess of 600,000 tons of nitrogen per year and employ 135 full-time employees.  Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015, with an anticipated completion date of spring 2017 employing 2,000.

Northern Plains Nitrogen was created by farmers in the Northern Plains as a result of research conducted by North Dakota State University. The research was funded by the Corn Growers Organizations of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, and the Manitoba Canola and North Dakota Soybean Councils.