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The Right Time, Place And Partners: North Dakota And Ag Tech Are A Perfect Pair

Jeanne Crain President and CEO, Bremer Bank

If you’re involved with agriculture, you know that recent headlines have been grim. Tariffs, flooding, the trade war and more – there’s no question: The agriculture industry is weathering an uncertain storm while in the midst of significant transformation.

Interestingly enough, the banking industry is facing some similar challenges: The world is changing fast, and we’re working to define and strengthen our place in it.

At Bremer Bank, we’ve chosen to embrace this period as an opportunity to define our future, and to define it with purpose. We’re focusing on what we’re good at, and on doing it even better. We’ve rebranded, launched a new and modern website and challenged ourselves to stay relevant to our customers in every way.

One of those core customer segments is our farmers.

Agriculture has been central to Bremer Bank since our founding in 1943. For 75 years, we’ve been proud to work elbow to elbow with the people who, for generations, have grown our food and strengthened our communities. Bringing value to these customers today means finding new and innovative ways to help them achieve their goals.

That means taking our agriculture and digital strategies to the next level. As is true with our commercial customers, we know that technological solutions can help solidify and grow the financial footing of so many of our farm customers. By investing in advancing agricultural technologies, we hope to help strengthen the industry as a whole.

All these things taken together – a commitment to our ag customers, a rapidly changing industry and a focus on innovation– led us here: To Emerging Prairie and Plug and Play, a perfect and unique merger of agriculture technology and entrepreneurship.

Living our dedication to innovation and our agriculture customers, we established a corporate partnership with startup accelerator Plug and Play in 2018, accelerating ag tech on behalf of our region. As the nation’s 11th largest ag lender, our participation with Plug and Play has included working with entrepreneurs to refine their offerings and go-to-market strategies, helping to identify technologies that could be beneficial for our farmers and supporting startups that have the strongest potential to help those farmers succeed. In fact, Bremer Bank is the first and only financial services organization in Plug and Play’s foodtech space.

We are also a founding partner and supporter of Emerging Prairie, a Fargo-based organization that focuses on connecting and celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Bremer Bank is glad to be a supporter and partner in these two pioneering organizations, and we are excited to watch Emerging Prairie’s Grand Farm initiative take form.

We believe that innovation in agriculture is crucial. Precision technologies lead to operational efficiencies and greater certainty. Data leads to actionable intelligence. With the right technology, good crops can become great crops. Bottom lines can increase. The harvest can go further. Markets can shift. Innovators can find themselves in a strong enough position to perfect and refine their products. Overall, our farmers can do better, which means our communities do better. Our entrepreneurs can do better, which means our economy does better. And when this is true, we all do better.

What better way to start than by engaging local talent, entrepreneurs and students; than by connecting large companies with new technology developed right here in our fields? Together, we can collaborate and foster a meaningful impact on the global economy.

Periods of uncertainty can be unsettling. But it is precisely then that we should be looking to our innovators not just as we define our worlds of tomorrow, but work to define them in the best possible way.

Bremer Bank has served North Dakota for generations, and we know that this region is uniquely positioned to have a global impact on the agriculture industry. We are thrilled to amplify this work as North Dakota leads for the world.

Let’s go out and do it together.

Jeanne Crain
President and CEO, Bremer Bank


About Bremer Bank

Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately held, $12 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by the Otto Bremer Trust and Bremer employees. Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and provides a comprehensive range of banking, mortgage, investment, wealth management, trust and insurance products and services throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Clients include small businesses, mid-sized corporations, agribusinesses, nonprofits, public and government entities and individuals and families.


About Plug And Play

Plug and Play is an international innovation platform and accelerator that has locations in places like Jakarta, Guadalajara, Berlin and Zhengzhou, China. They are opening a location in Fargo geared specifically for ag tech. As the largest innovation platform in the world, they connect technology startups and the world’s largest corporations. Bremer Bank established a corporate partnership with them in 2018 and this means that Bremer is at the table with new, innovative businesses at the forefront of industry technology. Bremer also hopes to identify new technologies that could prove beneficial to farmers and to support those startups.

If you want to learn more about them and how you can get involved in the Fargo location, go to plugandplaytechcenter.com.

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