FARGO, N.D. — Grand Farm, an ag innovation and research site west of Fargo, announced it has completed the first phase of a capital campaign.
“So as we completed phase one of the capital campaign, it’s going to allow us permanent piece of land for research collaboration, demonstrating technology, a 25,000 square foot facility is going to give us 365-day access to host groups from students to international guests,” Greg Tehven, chairman of Grand Farm Board of Directors told Agweek . “And we believe we’re only at the start.”
Earth is being moved at the site of the future Grand Farm Innovation Shop building, part of a 140-acre Innovation Campus west of Casselton, North Dakota, and south of Interstate 94.
Agricultural businesses and North Dakota State University have been using the Grand Farm site this summer for test plots and field day demonstrations.
Grand Farm announced its fundraising milestone on Tuesday, Aug. 29, as it hosted its Autonomous Nation conference at the Microsoft’s Fargo offices and at the Grand Farm site. Microsoft is among the investors in the development of Grand Farm , which is led by Emerging Prairie.
Grand Farm’s Innovation Campus capital campaign was launched in February 2022 when Grand Farm was awarded a $10 million matching grant by the North Dakota Legislature and North Dakota Department of Commerce.
Rep. Mike Nathe of Bismarck was among those who supported funding for Grand Farm and was at Tuesday’s event to see Grand Farm’s progress.
He said Grand Farm “is not only attractive to the state Legislature for what they’re doing with research and development but also for what they’re bringing in to the state. They’re bringing in ag tech companies from all over the country, helping develop new ag tech companies in the state of North Dakota with the r&d that they’re doing. And so the Legislature sees this as a win-win in many different ways.”
Among the companies represented Tuesday was Aigen, based in Washington state that is developing a sugarbeet weeding robot and Kirkwall, a data company founded in Fargo by Will Cromarty.
Cromarty and others talked about the need for data collection. He said one of the challenges with data collection is that it’s like sharing photos on social media. “People only want to share it when they’re having a good day,” he said.
But he said they need data from system crashes, machines catching on fire and other failures.
“We want the flaming wrecks of your data,” Cromarty said.