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NDSU agriculture research building takes positive first step - Senate Bill 2297

By: Neal Fisher
Posted: Jun 28 2019

The 2019 North Dakota legislative session took significant steps to make the proposed Agricultural Products Development Center (APDC) at North Dakota State University (NDSU) a reality.  APDC, when completed will house the very important functions of the region’s wheat and barley quality analysis programs and the world class faculty and staff that have helped place North Dakota and the region’s cereal crop (small grain) producers at the absolute pinnacle of the global supply chain.  The wheat and barley quality teams will be joined by the also distinguished faculty and staff of the NDSU Meats Lab in a similar role, touting the top quality beef and other livestock products which originate in a variety of livestock enterprises on the farms and ranches in our state and region. Quality, Reliability, Value and Service have become the hallmarks of the products, the programs and the reputation of our state and regional producers, and the stakeholders that serve them.  

Senate Bill 2297 provided a total of $40 million in state funding toward the $60 million required to complete the APDC project (NDSU Harris Hall and Meats Lab replacement).  The $20 million matching funds component is currently being pursued through fundraising efforts coordinated by the NDSU Foundation with the assistance of passionate industry supporters and a broad cross-section of stakeholder interests and commodity groups and associations.  

“A modern facility will provide critical upgrades required to continue relevant research and teaching programs, meet new food safety requirements, and address critical thresholds required for research into development of new food or innovative pharmaceutical applications derived from agricultural products”, said Neal Fisher, NDWC Administrator. “This has been a top priority of wheat producer leaders in our state for many years, and the NDWC is appreciative of all involved in the legislative effort to provide very significant funding for this important project”, Fisher added.  Senate Bill 2297 also authorized the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) to begin the process of developing in-depth plans for a new facility including location and capacity needs.  The bill also included authorization for NCI to begin fundraising for this effort.  

The promotional edge that can be generated or perfected in the critically needed, modernized environment of the APDC will provide greater opportunity to open doors to new markets and build on existing successful marketing efforts which help these savvy producers compete in a hungry but extremely competitive global market.  For many North Dakota crops,  producers depend every year on high value markets here and abroad, often marketing every other row of their annual production, “to increasingly quality conscious foreign buyers and consumers.” The global demand for livestock products, the preferred means of increasing protein in diets in most domestic and global destinations, is also growing as evidenced by recent positive developments in Japan, Korea, the UK, and numerous other growing markets with a taste and growing demand for such U.S. products.  

The future can be even brighter for these and other emerging pillars of the already prominent North Dakota agricultural platform.  APDC will also play a role in providing additional opportunity for those involved in the exciting agricultural pursuits that have recently diversified North Dakota agriculture in a manner that was only a dream a couple of decades or a generation or so earlier.  North Dakota now leads the nation in planted area of USDA’s “principal crops”, with a total of approximately 25 million acres.  Iowa comes in at a very close second ranking after holding first place last season, but North Dakota also has an estimated 15 million acres of range and grazing lands, greatly enhancing that vital element of livestock enterprises in our state. 

Production of wheat, corn, soybeans, numerous other important and familiar oilseed crops, sugar, potatoes, pulses, and many other specialty crops has allowed North Dakota producers to lead the nation in production of a dozen or more important crops.  These growing enterprises, coupled with a very vibrant livestock sector, have provided welcome diversification and considerable additional value and stability to the North Dakota economy, agricultural and otherwise.  North Dakota’s agricultural success has been shaped in part by innovative ideas, guided by positive stakeholders and fostered by decisive actions by policymakers.  Tomorrow’s agricultural landscape will be further enhanced by additional opportunity and success via the programs, heightened customer awareness, interest, and marketing advantages developed at the APDC in cooperation with industry stakeholders and affiliate organizations. 

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