Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

State spends $10 million to ramp up automation in production ag

FARGO, ND – The word is out.

Automation is coming to American production agriculture.  And in states like North Dakota, they put their money where their mouth is.

A $10 million grant created with funding from the 67th Legislative Assembly, is meant to encourage and support the advancement of autonomous farming technology.

The goal at Grand Farm in North Dakota is to become the world’s first fully autonomous agriculture operation by 2025.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced it has selected Grand Farm as a recipient of the department’s Autonomous Agriculture Technology Matching Grant.

“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,” Gov. 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,” the Governor said.

The hardware Signum has developed is unique in the sensor and IoT environment providing a low-cost, easy-to-use, sensor agnostic platform. This allows growers to utilize any sensor they would want to implement in the field and collects data for them via a web interface.

Director of Grand Farm, Brian Carroll, said, “With this grant award, Grand Farm is poised to amplify this energy through the creation of an Innovation Facility that will drive significant positive impacts to North Dakota.”

He added, “Grand Farm’s Innovation Facility will be intentionally designed to be a continually adapting, demonstration and innovation space that will stay at the forefront of technology innovation.”

The legislature allocated grant funding to Commerce to invest in matching grants toward autonomous agricultural technology in North Dakota.

“The funding dedicated by the legislature is the result of great enthusiasm by legislators from all corners of the state and a recognition that Grand Farm will be a large part of North Dakota agriculture as we move forward into the 21st century,” said state Rep. Michael Howe (R-West Fargo).

Grand Farm works regularly with companies and startups from North Dakota and around the world to better understand their products, provide capabilities for demonstration and development, and to amplify the technologies in North Dakota.

It currently operates a test site on donated agricultural acres to demonstrate and test new and innovative ag technologies.

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