Gov. Doug Burgum today announced that the North Dakota Department of Commerce has selected the Grand Farm Education and Research Initiative for a $10 million matching grant to advance autonomous agriculture technology in North Dakota.
“North Dakota has always been a leader in ag innovation. This private-public matching grant using legislatively approved federal funds is an investment that will further accelerate ag innovation and have a transformative impact on the future of North Dakota and our nation’s agriculture industry,” Burgum said during a press conference in Fargo. “Our state is an innovative leader in agriculture technologies, and Grand Farm and its partners’ work will advance cutting-edge research and commercialization of new farming concepts to increase productivity and profitability, reduce inputs, improve soil health and help address workforce needs through automation.”
Federal funds for the Autonomous Agriculture Technology Matching Grant were included in Burgum’s Accelerate ND plan in September and approved by the 67th Legislative Assembly during its special session in November. Proposals for the matching grant were evaluated through a multi-department screening and selection process.
Grand Farm, which is led by Emerging Prairie and operates an innovation site south of Fargo, plans to use the grant funding for an innovation facility, project management and workforce initiatives to upskill the autonomous agriculture workforce with qualified professionals to ensure advanced farming techniques.
Burgum made the announcement with state legislators including Rep. Michael Howe and Sen. Ron Sorvaag, who led the push for the grant funding in the legislature, as well as Grand Farm Director Brian Carroll, Commerce representatives and North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne.