North Dakota wins up to $160 million in federal funding to support innovation, jobs, and
economic growth in agriculture technology (AgTech)

Winning team led by North Dakota State University (NDSU), North Dakota Tribal College
System, Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, Fargo Moorhead West
Fargo Chamber Foundation, and Grand Farm

FARGO, ND (January 29, 2024) – Recognized as an international leader in agriculture
technology (AgTech), a groundbreaking coalition of five North Dakota entities today was named
as an award winner for up to $15 million over the next two years with potential to receive up to
$160 million over 10 years as part of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional
Innovation Engines program. The competitive award will fund programs that help solve food
insecurity and expand economic opportunities for not only more people and organizations, but
for increasing the growth of existing crops and introducing new crops to market. The award
highlights the state’s talent pool in AgTech and recognizes the unique collaborative partnership
that came together to show how North Dakota feeds the world.

“This award of up to $160 million over 10 years is a major investment in NDSU and Grand
Farm’s efforts to transform the future of ag production. By securing this funding for the North
Dakota Advanced Agriculture Technology Engine, in addition to supporting their continued
partnership with ARS (Agricultural Research Service), we are empowering this collaboration to
give farmers and ranchers tools that will strengthen their operations, reduce costs and improve
yields,” said U.S. Senator John Hoeven. “That’s good not only for the production of food, fuel
and fiber, but it will spur growth for a variety of industries, including our state’s dynamic tech
sector and manufacturers. That means North Dakota and our nation will continue to have a
competitive edge in the global marketplace, while ensuring a high-quality and low-cost food
supply for American consumers.”

“This team has earned this win by showing what North Dakota brings to the world: the brightest
minds and leaders in AgTech, food production, biotech and genomics,” said North Dakota
Governor Doug Burgum. “Our agriculture community has come together across all 53 counties
to demonstrate how talented people are driving innovation that improves yields, efficiency and
profitability for nations everywhere.”

“The inaugural NSF Engines awards demonstrate our enduring commitment to create
opportunity everywhere and enable innovation anywhere,” said NSF Director Sethuraman
Panchanathan. “Through these NSF Engines, NSF aims to expand the frontiers of technology
and innovation and spur economic growth across the nation through unprecedented investments
in people and partnerships. NSF Engines hold significant promise to elevate and transform entire
geographic regions into world-leading hubs of innovation.”

The regional partnership, called Food systems Adapted for Resiliency and Maximized Security
(FARMS), was named an award winner out of 188 concept outlines originally submitted
throughout the U.S. The FARMS program was recognized for the way it can help support what
The White House called “innovation in geographies that have not received the full benefits of
technology advancement in past decades.” This federal investment of potentially up to $160
million over 10 years will be used to tap into and expand existing networks and strengths in
North Dakota and offer a platform for new ideas, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

“This award has the potential to transform our regional workforce – especially for students,
recent graduates, and working adults pursuing careers in agriculture, engineering, IT, AI, data
science, and more,” said NDSU President David J. Cook. “It will retain talent in our local
economy who will be positioned to innovate in unprecedented ways. Now that North Dakota is
recognized as a center of agriculture technology, the research from this partnership will make a
difference in our local communities and far beyond the region. We deeply appreciate the
commitment of our partners who shared their expertise, vital connections, and imagination to
craft a submission focused on the future of our workforce and the impact of our state. I
congratulate all those who will make this a transformative success over the next 10 years.”

“The North Dakota Tribal College System is thrilled to be a partner in the FARMS award, which
we anticipate will be a systems-changing initiative,” said Twyla Baker of the North Dakota
Tribal College System and President at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College. “The partners we
have at the table working together, have the power to craft and execute a dynamic shift in the
way we do agriculture in North Dakota. The project brings together sectors that perhaps have not
had the opportunity to work in close proximity before. Throughout our planning stages, the
conversations we’ve had have sparked moments of inspiration and innovation. The Tribal
Colleges look forward to the joint visions we can create through the FARMS grant for future
generations, incorporating ancestral knowledge from Native peoples, and innovation from North
Dakota’s Tribal College campuses as well.”

“FARMS brings great potential to attract talent and create opportunities for upskilling in our
region’s workforce. The project’s inclusive vision will lead to equitable agricultural
opportunities for new Americans, Tribal citizens, veterans, and so many others looking for
opportunities in AgTech,” said Jenna Mueller, Executive Director of the FMWF Chamber
Foundation which will co-lead education and workforce development on the project and brings
expertise running the Good Jobs Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development
Administration. “Our region has a wealth of AgTech pioneers and we’ll tap into their expertise to
grow the next generation of talent. This work will not only bolster North Dakota’s workforce and
economic development but also cement its position as a leading force in the AgTech landscape.”

“We know that improving the way we feed a growing population under changing climate and
geopolitical conditions ultimately leads to strengthened national security. And that’s precisely
what the Fargo-Moorhead metro area of North Dakota has long been a leader in developing:
agriculture technology and innovation with locally founded companies that promote American
interests,” said Ryan Aasheim, Chief Business Development Officer of the Greater Fargo
Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. “We intend to produce more stories like
those of local Phoenix International and Appareo Systems which ultimately merged with global
leaders John Deere and AGCO, respectively. The FARMS Engine will help us align resources,
partners, and capabilities to amplify, accelerate, and enhance the level of innovation and
commercialization coming out of our premier AgTech innovation hub.

“The AgTech ecosystem in North Dakota has long been ready for FARMS. Our producers,
entrepreneurs, businesses, and researchers have been coming up with innovative ideas for
decades,” said Brian Carroll, Chief Innovation Officer for Emerging Prairie and co-founder
of Grand Farm. “FARMS will be anchored in the middle of this wave of innovation and will
benefit from it and will provide opportunities for additional breakthroughs moving ahead.”

The collaboration between all five organizations—NDSU, the Tribal College System, the
Chamber, the EDC, and Grand Farm—show the FARMS coalition has statewide reach in
AgTech, biotechnology and genomics, and can bring those innovations to market with the most
robust tech transfer infrastructure in the state through the NDSU Research Foundation. Many
additional partners and supporters have already contributed to the success of this project,
including educational institutions supporting R&D and workforce development in North Dakota
(Bismarck State College, United Tribes Technical College, University of North Dakota) and
Montana (Montana State University), Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) and North
Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS). FARMS is designed to promote engagement with
more organizations as projects are implemented.

“The NSF Engines award supporting FARMS will turbocharge the existing momentum and
energy of North Dakota’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem so that everyone in the
world knows of the amazing opportunities and resources existing here for AgTech
entrepreneurs,” said Colleen Fitzgerald, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity
at NDSU. “FARMS will be a magnet for new startups given North Dakota’s business friendly
environment. This work over the next 10 years is about accelerating economic growth for North

In its winning proposal, FARMS outlined solutions that will:

• Ignite inclusive, market-driven discussions about food security and equitable agriculture
with a focus on North Dakota and Tribal Nation agricultural communities.
• Develop robust crop varieties and cost-effective sensors to capture data useful to
• Collaborate with local AgTech leaders, researchers, startups and the global AgTech
industry to identify and prioritize opportunities.
• Accelerate investments and quickly bring solutions to market.
• Encourage involvement and investment from the private sector, non-profit organizations,
and the broader North Dakota agricultural community.
• Establish a thriving AgTech entrepreneurial ecosystem that significantly enhances food
security and equitable agricultural opportunities.
• Create local and regional high-wage jobs.
• Propel critical technologies for advanced agriculture through scientific and engineering
innovations centered around key areas, including novel genomics studies, advanced
predictive climate modeling, scalable on-farm data collection management and utilization
including reconfigurable agile data sensor networks and communication networks, edge
and cloud computing, real-time analysis of acquired data via artificial intelligence and
machine learning, with a focus on last acre connectivity, and will advance understanding
of the diffusion of AgTech innovation through human-centered approaches.

The NSF Engines: North Dakota Advanced Agriculture Technology Engine is supported by the
U.S. National Science Foundation under Award #2315315.

About FARMS: The vision of FARMS is a collaborative ecosystem created to solve global food
insecurity and to create equitable agricultural opportunities. FARMS is powering ideas that feed
the world and will create a global AgTech engine characterized by a flourishing ecosystem
where new knowledge is co-designed into new technologies, services, and startups to address
stressors impacting food insecurity and to establish equitable agricultural opportunity. Led by
NDSU, FARMS is composed of a core group of partners including Grand Farm, the Fargo
Moorhead West Fargo Chamber Foundation, and the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic
Development Corporation. The FARMS ecosystem includes the North Dakota Tribal College
System, the North Dakota Tribal communities, North Dakota universities and colleges, industry,
non-profits, and other regional research universities. Through AgTech innovations, FARMS
holds the potential to improve how the nation produces food for the world.

About NSF Engines: The National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with other Federal
agencies has managed the NSF Engines competition. Its funding comes from, in part, the CHIPS
and Science Act. FARMS was the only agriculture-based project among the finalists.

About NDSU: North Dakota State University plays a central role in research, project
management, and overall coordination of FARMS. A Land Grant R1 ranked institution with
$175 million in research expenditures in FY 2022 alone, NDSU ranks 99 among 637 public
universities by the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development
Survey (HERD), the university boasts research excellence in the areas of agricultural sciences,
physical sciences, cybersecurity, life sciences, and energy and water security.

About The North Dakota Tribal College System: Chartered by federally recognized Tribal
governments, North Dakota’s Tribal colleges teach and preserve culture and language as a
component of the academic curriculum. 1994 Land Grant Tribal colleges are public, affordable,
non-profit post-secondary institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the same
as state post-secondary institutions. Tribal colleges proactively collaborate with the North
Dakota University System to enhance students’ academic experience that allows for seamless

About Grand Farm: Grand Farm is involved in project management of research, testing, and
innovation related to agricultural technologies and practices. Powered by Emerging Prairie,
Grand Farm is a collaborative initiative focused on accelerating research, innovation, and
technology in the agriculture industry. A collaborative network of growers, technologists,
corporations, startups, educators, policy-makers, and investors working together to solve
problems in agriculture through AgTech and innovation, Grand Farm works with small
businesses, large corporations, startups, and research institutions to pave the way for applied
technology to solve problems in agriculture, the organization helps growers achieve efficiency
and effectiveness to nourish a hungry world through a robust partnership program.

About Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce: The organization will support
FARMS in workforce engagement, fostering industry engagement, facilitating networking, and
promoting the project’s impact on the region. The FMWF Chamber Foundation currently
manages the federal Good Jobs Challenge in the region. This program leverages the group’s
expertise in education and workforce development and is aimed at attracting talent and creating
opportunities for many with an inclusive vision to provide equitable agricultural opportunities for
New Americans, Tribal citizens, veterans, and others.

About the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation: The Economic
Development Corporation will contribute to the economic development aspects of FARMS and
is responsible for promoting the project’s outcomes for the local economy. The GFMEDC
cultivates an environment where businesses can start up, flourish, and thrive and has more than
75 years of serving the region’s economic development needs. The GFMEDC board, staff and
more than 115 private and public organizations are dedicated to the regional economy’s biggest
driver – primary-sector companies.

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