Hoeven Highlights North Dakota's Growth as a Tech Development Leader, Potential of Next Generation Precision Agriculture

Senator Helps Break Ground on Grand Farm Innovation Facility

CASSELTON, N.D. – At the groundbreaking for the Grand Farm Innovation Facility today, Senator John Hoeven highlighted North Dakota’s continued growth as a leader in technology and the potential of precision agriculture to support the continued success of the state’s farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses. The new facility is being developed on 140 acres west of Casselton and will support research and development projects to advance the next generation of precision agriculture, including autonomous technologies. Grand Farm, led by Emerging Prairie, collaborates with a wide range of private sector partners and public institutions like North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

In August, Hoeven announced the cooperative agreement between Emerging Prairie, NDSU and ARS to enhance the precision agriculture research being undertaken by Grand Farm, supported by $1 million in funding that the senator secured as Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee.

“Grand Farm is a perfect example of the qualities that have empowered North Dakota to grow as a technology leader. We build innovative partnerships that tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our nation and the world, while securing new opportunities for growth and prosperity here at home,” said Hoeven. “Through advancements in precision agriculture, our farmers and ranchers will be able to reduce their input costs and improve their yields. Doing so means more certainty, a better competitive edge and an enhanced ability to continue providing the food, fuel and fiber we rely on every day. That’s what Grand Farm is all about, and it’s why we continue working to advance important initiatives like this across our state.”

The new facility aligns with Hoeven’s ongoing work to strengthen North Dakota’s dynamic technology sector, including by leveraging the state’s existing leadership in agriculture, energy and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). To this end, Hoeven has worked to:

  • Secure federal support for the Grand Farm initiative. In addition to providing $1 million for the Emerging Prairie-NDSU-ARS partnership, Hoeven:
    • Invited Grand Farm Director Brian Carroll to testify at a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee on opportunities to diversify farm income and strengthen rural economies.
    • Brought USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the unveiling of Grand Farm to see firsthand North Dakota’s leadership in advancing precision agriculture.
  • Grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and link it with new missions that the senator worked to bring to the state, including:
    • The Test Resource Management Center’s (TRMC) Sky Range program, which he helped establish at Grand Sky to use modified Global Hawks for hypersonic missile testing.
    • The Space Development Agency’s (SDA) low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite mission in Grand Forks, which includes a project to demonstrate laser communications between satellites and MQ-9 Reapers.
  • Expand access to high-speed broadband, including in rural areas, to ensure data-intensive technologies like precision agriculture can be implemented. Specifically, Hoeven:
    • Secured nearly $3 billion across fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program. 
    • Cosponsored and worked to pass legislation to improve federal broadband mapping and ensure broadband access in rural areas.