Grand Farm Education and Research Initiative, which is led by Emerging Prairie, a Fargo nonprofit that assists young entrepreneurs, plans to use a $10 million matching grant to build an innovation facility and advance autonomous agriculture technology at its complex south of Fargo, North Dakota.
The company plans to use the grant funding for construction of the new facility, project management and workforce initiatives to upskill the autonomous agriculture workforce with qualified professionals to ensure advanced farming techniques.
“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,” Governor Doug Burgum said. “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, the Governor’s Office said.
“It’s been amazing to see the collaboration around this by leaders across all levels of our government including Rep. Michael Howe and Sen. Ron Sorvaag and the state legislature, Governor Doug Burgum and his executive team, and Sen. John Hoeven and the North Dakota delegation,” said Greg Tehven, CEO of Emerging Prairie and Co-founder of Grand Farm. “This investment will have a transformative impact on the state’s future.”
SB 2345 included an allocation of $10 million to the North Dakota Department of Commerce intended to invest in matching grants towards autonomous agricultural technology in the state, company officials explained. With a goal of championing the region’s potential in the agriculture and technology industries, Grand Farm was active in the process to further establish North Dakota as a leading agtech ecosystem.