Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - February 4, 2024

Burgum applauds National Science Foundation for $15M Regional Innovation Engine grant to NDSU

Governor’s Office actively supported effort

Gov. Doug Burgum applauded the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for awarding a $15 million, two-year Regional Innovation Engine grant to the North Dakota Advanced Agriculture Technology Engine at North Dakota State University, with up to $160 million in funding possible over 10 years.

The North Dakota engine was one of 16 selected from 188 submissions from across the country and is led by a regional partnership called Food systems Adapted for Resiliency and Maximized Security (FARMS), which is spearheaded by NDSU, North Dakota Tribal College System, Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp., Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber Foundation, and Grand Farm.

“This team has earned this win by showing what North Dakota brings to the world: the brightest minds and leaders in AgTech, food production, biotech and genomics,” Burgum said. “Our agriculture community has come together across all 53 counties to demonstrate how talented people are driving innovation that improves yields, efficiency and profitability for nations everywhere.”

The Governor’s Office actively supported the effort through a letter of support from Burgum and participation in the NSF site visit to North Dakota with regional leaders on Sept. 20, 2023.

The competitive grant will fund programs that help solve food insecurity and expand economic opportunities for people and organizations while increasing the growth of existing crops and introducing new crops to market.

Miller discusses opportunities for ag tech collaboration with USDA undersecretary, ARS administrator

On the heels of Monday's NSF grant announcement, Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller met Thursday and Friday with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials on potential opportunities for additional collaboration, including on agriculture technology research and autonomous systems like those being developed at Grand Farm near Casselton.

"North Dakota is a world leader in agriculture technology and research, with NDSU and Grand Farm on the cutting edge of innovation," Miller posted on X after Friday's meeting. "We're grateful to U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Scientist and Undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Agricultural Research Service Administrator Simon Liu, our congressional delegation and others for the great discussions yesterday and today on new opportunities for collaboration."

Burgum requests presidential major disaster declaration for damage related to December ice storm

Gov. Burgum has requested a presidential major disaster declaration for a severe winter ice storm that caused more than $11.5 million in estimated damage over the Christmas holiday. The request follows an executive order Burgum issued Dec. 29 declaring a statewide emergency for infrastructure damage.

In a letter directed to President Joe Biden through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Burgum requested a major disaster be declared for the period of Dec. 25-27 for 13 counties: Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Grant, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman and Traill. The counties of Burleigh, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder and Wells were also impacted by the event but didn’t sustain enough damage to exceed the per-capita threshold for being included in the declaration request.

Freezing rain and winds in excess of 40 mph combined to destroy more than 2,000 power poles and forced the closure of major highways and other roads due to life-threatening conditions.

“This was the worst ice storm since 1997 for much of eastern North Dakota, bringing the region to a standstill over the Christmas holiday, causing enormous damage to utility infrastructure and knocking out power to more than 20,000 residents, including some who went without electricity for more than 10 days,” Burgum said. “We appreciate the consideration of this major disaster request and are grateful for the utility crews and linemen from across the region who helped to restore power, as well as for the state and local emergency management teams, road crews, first responders, health care workers and others who worked together to ensure the safety of all North Dakotans during this historic event.”

If granted, a presidential declaration would unlock FEMA public assistance to help pay for the costs of repairing damaged infrastructure. In addition, Burgum also is asking that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long run.

Miller participates in ribbon cutting ceremony for Fargo child care expansion to serve 24/7 demand

Lt. Gov. Miller took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday for the Jasmin Child Care and Preschool expansion in Fargo, which is expanding its space and hours with the goal of providing 24/7 child care services to the community, including overnight services for children ages 3 to 12.

"At the state level we’ve been laser-focused on our state’s biggest barrier to workforce participation and the biggest roadblock to economic growth in our state – child care. Not just child care affordability, but also availability and quality," Miller said. "This is so important because we know additional child care options are needed to serve some of our industry sectors with the greatest demand for workers, including health care and manufacturing. Making child care available during shifts that span the evening hours into the early morning hours can open up a whole new set of employment opportunities for working parents."

Miller noted North Dakota is now the fourth-youngest state in the nation, with a median age of 35.2 years old, and the state set a record population in July 2023 with nearly 784,000 people – up 17% since 2010. Last month, North Dakota tied Maryland for the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and had the second-highest labor force participation rate in the country. Over 8,000 new businesses registered in North Dakota last year, and the state was ranked by Forbes as the Best State to Start a Business for the second year in a row.

The state made major strides in addressing child care last session when Gov. Burgum signed a historic child care package with $66 million in state funds being invested alongside federal funds through the North Dakota Child Care Initiative.

SAVE THE DATE: Governor's Military Ball

The 2024 Governor's Military Ball will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at the Fargo Air Museum.