<< All News Wednesday, December 22, 2021 - 02:43pm

The North Dakota Department of Commerce is currently accepting proposals for the Autonomous Agriculture Matching Grant program.

The intent of the grant is to encourage and support the advancement of autonomous farming by awarding a 1:1 match of funding for the deployment of an innovation facility (constructed, purchased or rented), project management for complex North Dakota-based and global autonomous agricultural concepts, and workforce initiatives to upskill the autonomous agriculture workforce with qualified professionals to ensure advanced farming techniques.

“North Dakota’s innovative approach in autonomous agriculture will advance and accelerate cutting edge research and commercialization of new farming concepts, “Commerce Head of Investments and Innovation Shayden Akason said. “This current grant provides up to $10 million to achieve the advancement of autonomous farming concepts in accordance with the state’s needs to position North Dakota as a global leader in autonomous agriculture.”

Proposals for the grant are due by 5 p.m. CT on Jan. 10, 2022 and must include the concept, proposed sources for matching revenue, and a timeline for deployment. All funding must be expended by June 30, 2023.

Funding is slated to be distributed in five allocation tiers up to: $1 million for project management, $500,000 for engineering and architectural design, $1.5 million for land acquisition, $5 million for construction phase I, and $2 million for construction phase II.

Initial funding will be awarded following the plan approval. The 1:1 match verification will be reimbursed through a receipts-based-approach that reflects the completion of specified allocations.

Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

1. Automation in agriculture – How well does the proposal for agricultural automation help streamline the crop production cycle, making farming more efficient? How well does this proposal demonstrate automation?

2. Precision agriculture – How well does the proposal demonstrate observation, yield, and measurement for the production cycle?

3. Advancements in implements and tools – How well does the proposal advance the commercialization of automated farm implements through demonstration, tools and supporting infrastructure, e.g., the ability to automate end-to-end activities in production as well as product to market.

4. Aerial integration – How well does this proposal tie into other statewide efforts such as the use of unmanned aerial systems to enhance agricultural activity?

Proposals are required to address all evaluation criteria within 10 pages, not including cover page and supporting documentation.

Proposals must be submitted to Akason at, sakason@nd.gov. Questions may be submitted to Akason or any member of the designated evaluation team.

Additional information about the Autonomous Agriculture Matching Grant program and other grants offered at Commerce can be found at commerce.nd.gov/services/GrantPrograms/.

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