North Dakota offers many advantages for dairy producers, including:

  • Affordable land.
  • Animal agriculture friendly communities.
  • Easy-to-obtain permits.
  • Affordable, locally-produced and readily-available feedstuffs.
  • A constant supply of low-cost byproducts for feed, such as ethanol by-products, corn gluten and sugar beet pulp pellets from local agricultural processing plants.

Financial Incentives

The only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND), was established in 1919, to encourage and promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. BND acts as a funding resource in partnership with other financial institutions, economic development groups and guarantee agencies.

BND administers several lending programs that promote agricultural and economic development. The bank is specifically authorized to assist numerous other financial institutions in providing financing to stimulate economic development in the state.

Lending programs include:

  • Farm irrigation
  • Livestock retention
  • Non-traditional farm income diversification
  • Farmer/rancher financing with bank participations
  • Beginning and established farmer/rancher financing
  • Small business financing
  • Guarantee program for start-up businesses
  • Guarantee program for farm real estate
  • Business financing with bank participations
  • Community, rural and regional development
  • Incentive financing for North Dakota economic development projects
  • Personal Property Tax Exemption
  • North Dakota exempts all personal property from property taxation except that of certain oil and gas refineries and utilities.

Sales Tax Exemptions

  • Agriculture Production Equipment
  • All farm machinery repair parts are exempt from sales tax. The sale, lease and rental of used farm machinery, used farm machinery attachments, and all farm machinery repair parts (except tires) used exclusively for agricultural purposes are all exempt from state and local sales tax.
  • Livestock Feed, Seed and Fertilizer
  • Sales of feed for poultry or livestock are not subject to sales tax.
  • Sales of commercial fertilizers and sales of seeds, roots, bulbs and small plants for agricultural purposes are not subject to sales tax.

North Dakota offers the following markets for milk producers:

Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) – is a dairy marketing cooperative with 3,200 member farms, 6 billion pounds of milk and $1.4 billion in annual sales. Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. They own 13 manufacturing plants and market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products, including the Cass-Clay® brand.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. – A farmer-owned milk marketing cooperative focused on securing markets and bringing value to our members beyond a milk check. Our people make DFA the organization it is today. Nearly 17,000 members – Our farmer owners work hard each day to ensure their farms, the Cooperative and the dairy industry are successful.

Dean Foods – The nation’s leading processor and distributor of milk and other dairy products has a plant in Bismarck. This plant processes grade A milk from North Dakota dairy producers, using both plastic and paper containers for the white milk, chocolate milk, whipping cream, half and-half and buttermilk products. Dean Foods' products are processed with the help of our 27,000 dedicated employees working in approximately 100 plants across the U.S. and Europe.

Pride Dairy – Located in Bottineau, Pride Dairy is the last small town creamery in North Dakota. After getting a start in the dairy industry in 1930, Pride Dairy has been around the block a few times. It is locally known for its friendly staff, fun environment, low prices and tasty, homemade dairy products such as our ice cream, butter, and milk!

Valley Queen – This family owned processing plant was founded in 1929 and is located in Milbank, S.D. The company produces three main products: cheese, lactose, and delactosed whey.

Additional nearby resources – Adjacent states of Minnesota and South Dakota have over 80 milk processing plants.

Heifer Development

Dairy producers are finding profit opportunities in North Dakota.

Feedlots are small, so cattle are not exposed to a great number of other animals. Some feedlots are interested in working exclusively with one supplier.

Many operations have available grasslands; consequently, heifers do not spend a lot of time on concrete. All feeding operations are family owned and operated – your cattle will get the individual attention they need.

North Dakota’s record on heifer development is one of the best in the nation: Dairies report North Dakota-raised heifers remain in milking lines up to two years longer.

  • Open spaces between operations provide added bio-security.
  • Large open lots provide added comfort and bunk space.
  • Affordable and diverse forages readily available.
  • Animals return with little to no incidences of Hairy Wart.
  • North Dakota disease-free status:
    • Tuberculosis
    • Brucellosis
    • Scrapie
    • Blue tongue
    • Pseudo-rabies

Abundant Feedstuffs

  • Barley Malt Products
  • Beet Pulp
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Linseed Oil
  • Potato Waste
  • DDGs and WDGs
  • Bean Splits
  • Canola Meal
  • Distillers Grain
  • Mill Feed
  • Soybean Hulls
  • Sunflower Meal

Growth Potential

Growing and expanding your business is easier in North Dakota where land and buildings are extremely affordable.

It costs less to do business here than most anywhere else in the country. Labor, property, buildings and utilities are less expensive. This all adds up to lower operational costs and higher earnings.

North Dakota has:

  • Some of the most competitive labor costs in the nation.
  • Industrial electric rates are well below the national average of 5.56/kwh.
  • Land prices averaging $1,000 for pasture land and $1,500 to $3,000 for cropland.
  • Byproducts, grains and forages are easily accessible and very affordable.


North Dakota is a place known for its wide-open spaces. But with any dairy operation there comes the challenge of manure management.

To assist North Dakota dairy producers, the North Dakota Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture will help develop a nutrient management plan based on your management needs.