Fargo, N.D. — The North Dakota State Seed Commission, the governing board for the ND State Seed Department, has committed $1 million to support the construction of a new Agricultural Field Lab at North Dakota State University. The 68th Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature appropriated $87 million to the project during the 2023 legislative session and authorized NDSU to raise up to $10 million in additional funding to bring the vision for this state-of-the-art Agricultural Field Lab to life. The gift from the State Seed Commission is the first leadership gift to support the Lab’s construction.
“We are grateful to the Seed Commission for this leadership gift to kick off fundraising efforts,” NDSU President Dave Cook said. “We look forward to securing additional gifts to help make this vital project to North Dakota a reality. I would like to extend a special thanks to North Dakota’s legislative assembly for supporting and approving this project.”
The Agricultural Field Lab will provide NDSU scientists with the space, equipment, and technology needed to drive innovation in key areas related to the state’s agriculture industry, including plant breeding, agronomy, weed science, plant pathology, and natural resource sciences. The facility will replace many of the current field lab facilities on campus that were constructed decades ago.
“Crop breeding and variety development, disease identification and testing, weed science, foundation seed — all are examples of the critical scientific and production advancements provided to our industry by NDSU,” Ken Bertsch, State Seed Commissioner and CEO of the State Seed Department, said. “Our staff are engaged with NDSU breeders, pathologists, scientists, department chairs and administrators on a frequent basis. Every seed grower and consumer will benefit from this new facility, and they are all functionally supporters of the project since their dollars pay for every service provided by the Seed Department.”
The ND State Seed Department was established by the North Dakota Legislature in 1931 as the state’s designated authority for all seed certification and regulatory matters. The Seed Department is unique by comparison to most state agencies, or seed certification entities, in that it is a self-funded agency and provides inspection, testing, and regulatory enforcement services for all crops including potatoes.
“North Dakota currently leads the nation in the production of several key commodities, including all dry beans, canola, flaxseed, honey, dry edible peas, durum wheat, and spring wheat. For agriculture to continue to flourish, we need top-tier researchers and modern facilities to maintain the highest level of research efforts and productivity,” Greg Lardy, NDSU’s Vice President for Agricultural Affairs, said. “A new Agricultural Field Lab will enable our researchers to continue to provide cutting-edge, research-driven solutions for the benefit of North Dakota farmers and the industry. We are grateful to the ND State Seed Commission for their foresight to act quickly and convincingly to make a strong statement about the value of agriculture research.”
Construction of the new Agricultural Field Lab is anticipated to begin in mid-2024 and will be operational by summer 2026. It will consolidate field lab programs currently housed in four separate buildings across campus, creating integrated research spaces that will enhance productivity across the entire NDSU agriculture research enterprise for faculty, staff, and students.
The NDSU Foundation is partnering with NDSU in fundraising efforts for the project. To learn more about the project and to get involved, please visit www.NDSUFoundation.com.
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