What more can be said about the Grand Farm? Nearly every one of the major ag tech innovators is behind it. It’s got the backing of some of the most important people in the state. From billion-dollar international corporate entities to the state government’s most important politicians to the most important businessmen and women, almost everyone is behind Grand Farm. Oh, did we mention that list also includes the U.S. government?
Last month, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue came to the Grand Farm unveiling. Thanks to the invite from Senator Hoeven, Perdue came to talk about how North Dakota is leading the way for the future of agriculture.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
“Where Greg started out today is about how technology can improve the human condition. That’s not just something in the future. That’s today. It’s happening right now. There have been over a billion people who have been lifted out of poverty in the last 20 years because of free markets and technology. Greg talked about the challenge of feeding an increased population in the future, the diets of these people in the world are better than they ever have been. Calorie consumption is up to the highest levels it has been and part of that is because America produces more food than we can consume and we export it all over the world.
“Yet, we’re at a spot right now in the United States that’s a unique thing. We have more jobs open in America than we have people looking for jobs. Agriculture in the last 100 years has become one of the most productive sectors in the world. The amount of people involved to produce food has gone down and down because of the increase in productivity. We can’t stop where we are. We have to get even better. The concept around Grand Farm is really important, not just for entrepreneurs, but they’re important for actually feeding the planet.”
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
“Our motto at USDA now is to do right and feed everyone. What can be a more noble cause than feeding everyone? You talked about what the challenge will be with fewer people to feed everyone over the next however many number of years. This is what it’s going to take to do this.
“I like to refer to what’s happening here as the digitalization of agriculture. The best farmers always had this algorithm sitting on our shoulders. They did it in an almost analog way.”
“Farming has been with us forever but the changes have been dramatic and will be even more exponentially dramatic in the future. It will take technology, just like we’re talking about today, to lead the way and do that.
“I love the fact that agriculture says, ‘What if? Why not?’ Many people say, ‘We can’t do that.’ This is a group of people here with the sponsors, your leadership from Senator Hoeven and Cramer and Governor Burgum and certainly the private entrepreneurs and this community to say, ‘Why not do this?’
“What can be more noble than producing feed for a growing hungry world? Norman Borlaug did it generations ago and it’s going to take the same kind of dedication and compassion to really make that human condition more equal around the world. This is what will happen right here.
“This day can be remembered as an important moment in how we can do things, sustainably, more efficiently and with a better outcome. Thank you all for letting me come here.”
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer
“It’s not surprising that we see this happening again here. Just know that in this new role I’m in, I look forward to doing whatever I can and my team as well along with Senator Hoeven whose vision started a lot of this really in government and helping build this foundation and now allows you all to do what you do so well and that is feed a hungry world on the same number of acres.”
North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer
“My mom grew up on a farm about an hour and a half southwest from here. She told me this story of when she would get up in the morning and my grandpa would come inside and all you’d see was his eyes because he was black from the dirt from the field from an open-cab tractor.
“We’re standing here today to celebrate a really different kind of farming and I’m so excited about that. I’m so excited for the state of North Dakota. As Greg said, Grand Farm is good for the state and the state is good for Grand Farm.”
North Dakota Senator John Hoeven
“We are talking about the jobs and the economy and about bringing our two biggest industries in ag and energy together in new and innovative ways with tech entrepreneurship from small companies to the very largest companies like John Deere and everything in between.
“One final point, we were talking about the importance of trade. We’re working on something right now in terms of a soybean crush facility that could replace a lot of the $1.5 billion worth of soybeans that we send to China every year. Now we control our destiny and that’s agriculture and we’d send the oil over to a refinery out west of Dickinson, which is part of our oil and gas operation. Now we combine oil, ag and technology and we control our destiny. We don’t have to worry about if somebody else is going to buy our product or not.
“That’s why this is so important. We have to have that vision. Nothing just happens. We make it happen. We can compete with anyone, anywhere at any time. That’s what this is about.”