Monday, June 14, 2021 - 05:05 pm

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum met today with representatives of agricultural groups in Fargo to highlight economic opportunities for farmers related to carbon capture, utilization and storage, and to discuss the state’s ongoing drought situation.

The roundtable discussion followed the governor’s recent challenge for North Dakota to become a carbon-neutral state by 2030. Burgum noted the challenge includes no mandates and no expectations of drastic changes to current agricultural practices in North Dakota.

“With practices already in use such as cover cropping, rotational grazing and no-till, North Dakota farmers are already capturing more carbon and putting it to beneficial use,” Burgum said. “People are willing to start paying for credits for farmers and ranchers to do what they’ve been doing in North Dakota for a long time, and this could be an additional source of revenue. Together with the massive underground storage capacity that is part of our state’s geologic jackpot, we can continue to be a national leader in energy and agricultural production in an environmentally friendly and economically beneficial way – through innovation over regulation.”

Participants in the roundtable included representatives from the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, North Dakota Farmers Union and Marathon Oil.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner James Leiman discussed the recent announcement of a proposed hydrogen hub in North Dakota and how North Dakota could become a test case for accelerated innovation with synergies between agriculture and energy.

Department of Environmental Quality Director Dave Glatt said North Dakota has opportunities with carbon capture that other states don’t have. With North Dakota’s natural resources, technology and expertise at the state’s universities, the state can develop a regulatory structure that supports carbon capture and sell that expertise and technology to other countries to further aid carbon management, he said.

Two-thirds of North Dakota was in extreme or exceptional drought as of last week. Despite rainfall last week that was heavy in some areas, commodity group representatives said small grain crops are in trouble or beyond help in many areas due to ongoing exceptional drought conditions, while corn and soybean crops also are at risk unless additional rain is received.

One beef producer from LaMoure County said the first hay cutting of the season produced only one-tenth the number of bales as normal, and ranchers are selling off more head of cattle than normal.

Burgum noted resources have been made available through state programs. For information on drought relief resources, visit