In North Dakota, agriculture is a way of life. As a leading industry in the state, agriculture not only contributes significantly to North Dakota’s economy but also the nation’s economy, providing jobs and substantial revenue.
Hardworking North Dakotans grow crops and raise livestock on 30,000 farms, spreading across 39.2 million acres, almost 90 percent of North Dakota’s total land area. Farmers and ranchers manage a generous amount of land, as the average farm size is 1,307 acres.
North Dakota is a national leader in the production of several important commodities, ranking No. 1 in wheat, barley, canola, flaxseed, dry edible beans, dry edible peas and honey. Wheat is the top commodity for the state, and in 2015, North Dakota produced 370 million bushels, with a production value of more than $1.79 billion.
North Dakota’s varied geography supports its diverse agricultural offerings. The state’s eastern Red River Valley region is one of the most fertile in the world. The region borders Minnesota and is home to the majority of the state’s spring wheat, sugarbeets, hogs, dry edible beans, soybeans and corn. The soil in this region is thick black loam, perfect for farming.
Fittingly, North Dakota’s state motto is “Strength from the Soil.” The Drift Prairie is west of the Red River Valley, and is marked by potholes/wetlands, rolling hills and streams. In the southwestern part of the state, the Badlands present a very different geography. They are exposed surfaces of clay and stone shaped by erosion. Soils here are made of shale, clay, siltstone and sandstone.
But more than crops and commodities, North Dakota agriculture encompasses agritourism activities, value-added processing, exports and agribusiness, innovation, advancements and technology, education and training opportunities for future farmers, and much, much more.
What better way to learn about North Dakota’s vast agriculture industry than by spending some time on one of the state’s many farms and ranches? Agritourism activities – including pumpkin patches, corn mazes, pick-your-own orchards, farm festivals and more – offer opportunities for just that, teaching consumers about agriculture in a fun way.
North Dakota agritourism ranges from wine trails and buffalo ranch tours to agricultural museums showcasing antique farm equipment and rural bed-and-breakfasts offering guests a relaxing retreat.
Not only do these adventures give consumers a closer look at North Dakota agriculture straight from the state’s farmers, but they also provide the farmers and ranchers an extra source of income.
Pride of Dakota
Looking for local North Dakota-grown and -made products? Look no further than Pride of Dakota.
Created in 1985, this program identifies products made in North Dakota, including companies that produce food and beverages, manufacturers, publishers, artisans, gift manufacturers, and service providers. The program was founded by former Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Jones, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and a small group of state businesses. It kicked off with just 20 companies, and today includes more than 500.
Members of Pride of Dakota receive valuable marketing benefits, including export assistance, networking opportunities, use of the Pride of Dakota logo, access to seminars and workshops, retail store promotions, and much more. To be a member, companies must be physically located in North Dakota or produce products in the state.
Love of the Land
With the land as their livelihood, farmers are the original conservationists. North Dakota farmers and ranchers take their environmental responsibilities seriously, implementing best practices to leave the land better than they found it for the next generation.
Farmers and ranchers have adopted specific practices to help with top conservation concerns including energy and the quality of soil, water, air, habitat and water. They’ve done this through techniques, technology, practices and conservation programs. Successful crops begin with healthy soil, water and air, so taking care of the land is imperative to produce the food we eat.
Making its U.S. debut, the Agricultural Bioscience International Conference (ABIC) is coming to Fargo in 2016.
Hailed as the world’s top agricultural bioscience conference, ABIC 2016 will focus on “Better Food. Better World.” as the theme, concentrating on ways that public and private research comes together to solve issues with science, focusing on the increasing demand for food.
Attendees, which include everyone from students to producers to corporate heads, will hear the latest information on the role that research plays in plant science, animal health, agricultural innovations, and food and health.
The 2016 conference is set for Sept. 18-21.
In the Pipeline
If pipelines are causing you problems, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture is here to help.
Through the Pipeline Restoration and Reclamation Program, landowners experiencing issues can receive help from an ombudsman. After examining the issue with the landowner, the ombudsman will contact the pipeline company to help resolve the issue in a satisfactory and timely manner.
Also, landowners can receive education through the program on pipeline pathways, soil impacts, installation and other issues.
Learn more about the program at North Dakota Department of Agriculture or by calling (701) 328-2231.
Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project
North Dakota is helping fight hunger. Through the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and other partners are encouraging growers to plant an extra acre or row of produce to donate to food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and more across the state.
The program hopes to accomplish several goals, such as distributing a minimum of 250,000 pounds of fresh produce to North Dakota charities annually, as well as recognize the quantities of fresh produce grown in the state and connect farmers to local communities, among others.
Learn more about the project through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.