The Grand Farm Initiative was created to solve the biggest problems facing agriculture. It started around a community challenge and has transformed into a global leader in AgTech innovation.
In 2017, local entrepreneur Barry Batcheller challenged the community to define our region’s major – a specialty that attracts innovation and new businesses to the area. What followed was an idea to lean into our region’s strong history in agriculture innovation and create a place where stakeholders across the globe could come together to solve the biggest challenges facing agriculture.
By 2018, local business and civic leaders had come together to champion the idea, led by Emerging Prairie. Local AgTech business owners, Kevin and Stacey Biffert, donated land to be used for the concept. By spring 2019, Grand Farm was positioned with land, partners, and projects. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, came to North Dakota as a guest of Senator John Hoeven to help break ground on the Grand Farm Test Site. And in the fall of that year, Microsoft pledged $1.5 Million to support and accelerate Grand Farm.
In early 2022, Grand Farm was awarded a $10 Million matching grant by the North Dakota Legislature and State Department of Commerce to further advance agriculture technology through a world-class innovation campus.
Today, our partners are collaborating on cutting-edge autonomous and advanced agriculture technology innovations, and Grand Farm has grown its reach from regional to global.
We are building a campus where growers, industry professionals, and educators will collaborate to deliver innovative solutions.
The Innovation Shop and Innovation Campus will not only create a hub of innovative activity in the agriculture and technology industries leading to high-paying, high-skilled jobs, they will also serve as an attractor of venture capital for early-stage companies and long-term investment by enterprise and research organizations. This activity and investment will flow into our community and ultimately create a deep, positive impact on our region.
Grand Farm Innovation Shop Rendering
“If you’ve ever been to the Grand Farm site, you know that it is more than just dirt. It’s where we bring people together to collaborate on some of the biggest issues facing the agriculture industry.”
– Brian Carroll, CIO of Emerging Prairie and Co-Founder of Grand Farm
Our talented and dedicated team is hard at work bringing our region together over innovative ideas.
Director of Grand Farm
Startup Coordinator Intern
Senior Program Manager of Education & Research
CIO of Emerging Prairie and Co-Founder of Grand Farm
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Program Manager of Startups
Senior Project Manager of Innovation Technology
Chief Financial Officer
Senior Program Manager of Field Operations
Grower Program Coordinator
Director of Program Management Office
Our board is made up of supporters, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs who guide our work forward.
Board Chair and CEO and Co-Founder of Emerging Prairie
Board Vice Chair
President, North Dakota Farmers Union
North Dakota State Representative
Chief Operations Officer & General Counsel, AgCountry Farm Credit Services
Former CEO, Bank of North Dakota
TechSpark Manager, Microsoft
The Grower Advisory Board is a group of innovative growers who help advise Grand Farm on grower challenges, needs and issues. They work with our team to provide their insights to help guide our work in positive directions. By working with Grower Advisory Board members, we are able to identify new opportunities to advance technologies and get it in the hands of growers in our region.
Our Grower Advisory Board meets quarterly. If you are interested in collaborating with our Grower Advisory Board members, send an email to Grand Farm Grower Program Coordinator Stetson Urlacher at email@example.com
Kyle is a grower from Dickey County, ND.
David is a grower from Grand Forks County, ND.
Verna is a grower from Clay County, MN.
Vanessa is a grower from Richland County, ND.
Kathi is a grower from Cass County, ND.
Sarah is a grower from Traill County, ND.
Shelby is a grower from Ransom County, ND.
Chase is a grower from Cass County, ND.
Quinn is a grower from Ward County, ND.
Adam is a grower from Richland County, ND.
Mark is a grower from Brown County, SD.