North Dakota Farmers Union financially participated in a study conducted by North Dakota State University on agriculture’s economic contribution to North Dakota. 

The study reinforced the huge role agriculture plays in the state’s economy. The total economic contribution amounted to $30.8 billion, which includes $18.8 billion of direct output and $12 billion of indirect output. This means that agriculture’s share of the state’s economy is 24.2% of added value. 

The study showed that 43,060 direct jobs and an additional 67,420 secondary jobs were due to agriculture. This level of jobs is equal to 19.2% of all employment and 20.6% of the total labor income. With the strong job market, young adults with agriculture degrees have huge opportunities for employment in North Dakota. 

If we look at the segments of where the economic contribution comes from, the largest share is in crop production equal to 52%. Commodity processing makes up 26%. Livestock production reflects 8%. The remaining segments are farm input, machinery manufacturing, commodity transportation, commodity handling and “other” equaling 14%. 

The other groups that supported the study include Ag Products Utilization Commission, American Crystal Sugar, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, ND Corn Utilization Council, ND Dry Bean Council, ND Soybean Council, ND Stockmen’s Association, Northern Canola Growers Association, Northern Pulse Growers association and the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association. 

Your organization believes that agriculture is the primary driver for North Dakota’s economy and will be into the future. Food and energy production will be necessary to meet the ongoing demands of a growing population. To this belief, we invest in projects to enhance, or add value to family farm income. These enhancements and value-added projects can be renewable fuels, rendering products, fertilizer plants, restaurants, transportation, all types of processing and others. NDFU is participating and investing to support and grow our agriculture economy in the state. 

NDFU will be pushing this legislative session to have our state further invest in opportunities that will enhance family farm and ranch agriculture. We have a long list of processing plants being considered in the state and many other opportunities surrounding renewable energy development. It will take innovative minds to take advantage of all the potential we are seeing as opportunities are being created. We will need feasibility dollars, grants, logistics development, and other tools to attract these businesses. Our state has the capacity financially to support these efforts. Keep in mind, this is investing in our long-standing agriculture commitment to North Dakota’s economy. 

NDFU is starting to develop a program to bring ag leaders, North Dakota leaders and new business concepts to the table. We hope to develop ideas and concepts to grow and expand our agriculture economy. It is our priority to invest time, dollars and effort in agriculture, our long-standing economic driver.

— NDFU President Mark Watne