Hoeven: Oakes Irrigation Research Site Will Strengthen NDSU’s Role as World-Class Ag Institution

Senator Worked to Transfer Oakes Test Area Infrastructure to Local Irrigation District, Will Benefit from New Research Site

OAKES, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today helped break ground on the new headquarters for the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Oakes Irrigation Research Site. The facility is being developed in partnership between the Garrison Diversion and the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center to support high-impact research benefitting producers, irrigators and communities in south-central North Dakota. This follows Hoeven’s efforts to secure the transfer of the Oakes Test Area to the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District, which was successfully completed in 2020. Specifically, Hoeven:

  • Sponsored legislation to authorize the title transfer of the facility.
    • Key aspects of Hoeven’s bill were included in legislation he worked to pass through Congress to remove the need for congressional authorization prior to transferring the title of a BOR project facility, including the Oakes Test Area.
  • Advanced negotiations with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to:
    • Allow the irrigation district to purchase the test area and its infrastructure.
    • Ensure the facility was priced fairly.

The senator’s efforts enabled the facility to be updated and adapted to benefit local agriculture producers and prevent it from being abandoned.

“The Oakes Irrigation Research Site will further strengthen NDSU’s role as a world-class agriculture research institution, similar to the ag policy research center we’re working to bring to the university, while supporting the success of our producers and the local economy” said Hoeven. “This is exactly why we worked to secure local control over the Oakes Test Area, which had been underutilized and underfunded while owned by the federal government. Rather than allow the site to be abandoned, we worked to authorize this transfer and advanced negotiations to secure a fair deal for the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District. Doing so empowered them to modernize the facility, and with this new research site, we’ll be able to do even more.”