Hoeven Outlines Convergence of North Dakota's Ag Leadership & Growing Role in U.S. Space Operations

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today gave a virtual address kicking off Emerging Prairie and the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Space Ag Conference, where he discussed the convergence of North Dakota’s leadership in agriculture with the state’s growing role in U.S. space operations and research. The senator stressed that by working to address the challenges of agriculture production in space, as would be needed for extended manned missions, partners in the state can help advance new innovations to strengthen farming operations here at home.

“North Dakota is not only a world-leader in agriculture, but we’re quickly establishing a strong foothold in the next generation of precision agriculture technologies through initiatives like Grand Farm and playing a critical role in the future of U.S. space operations with the LEO satellite mission,” said Hoeven. “That’s why it is no coincidence that we’re starting to lead the conversation when it comes to the possibility of food production in space. This is both an important aspect of future U.S. manned space missions and an opportunity to advance new technologies to benefit our farmers and ranchers, as well as our nation’s food security.”

Hoeven highlighted how North Dakota is positioned to lead in this new field, leveraging and building upon important initiatives that he has worked to support in the state, such as:

  • The work of Grand Farm and its partners as they develop the next generation of precision agriculture technologies.
    • As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to fund and establish a cooperative agreement between Grand Farm, North Dakota State University and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to enhance Grand Farm’s precision agriculture research.
  • North Dakota’s space missions, including:
    • The Space Development Agency’s (SDA) low-Earth orbit (LEO) mission, which Hoeven worked to stand up at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and will serve as the backbone for all U.S. military communications.
    • The radar station at Cavalier, which tracks objects in orbit around the Earth.
  • Research conducted through UND’s Department of Space Sciences, part of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
  • North Dakota’s rapidly growing technology sector, including companies like Packet Digital, which is developing advanced battery systems for use in satellites.