Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 01:47 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during his visit to Fargo today, discussing issues facing North Dakota ag producers at a roundtable discussion and celebrating the launch of an autonomous farming initiative.

Perdue was visiting North Dakota for the second time as agriculture secretary at the invitation of U.S. Sen. John Hoeven to hear from local farmers and ranchers about issues such as uncertain trade markets, fluctuating commodity prices and planting delays due to spring flooding.

“We’re grateful to Secretary Perdue for once again giving North Dakota farmers and ranchers a direct line to the federal government on issues important to our state’s largest industry,” Burgum said. “As a former governor, Secretary Perdue is committed to fostering a collaborative relationship so we can address floods, droughts and everything in between that affects our ag producers.”

Burgum highlighted the positive effect that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will have on agriculture. A new study released this week revealed that international trade supports 110,800 jobs in North Dakota, representing nearly one out of every five jobs in the state. Trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports 30,800 jobs in North Dakota, underscoring the need to preserve and strengthen the North American trading relationship.

Following the roundtable discussion with Perdue, Hoeven, Sen. Kevin Cramer and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Burgum helped celebrate the launch of a new project known as the Grand Farm initiative. This new undertaking, spearheaded by Fargo’s Emerging Prairie, aims to be the world’s first completely autonomous farm to demonstrate how precision agriculture can increase productivity.