General ND Business News
North Dakota Skilled Labor Force Among Youngest in United States
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Dec 03, 2013.North Dakota's skilled labor workforce is among the youngest in the country.
The portion of skilled laborers - electricians, welders, machinists - approaching retirement age in North Dakota is well below the national average, according to data compiled by an international labor market analysis firm.
Experts point to North Dakota's oil boom as one reason for that trend. They say young workers, who are more likely to migrate than older ones, are attracted by job opportunities created by the Bakken oil formation.
Less than 43 percent of skilled laborers in the state are above the age of 45, compared to the national average of 52.9 percent. Meanwhile, only 15.1 percent of those workers here are above the age of 55, compared to 20.9 percent nationally, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International.
Only South Dakota and the District of Columbia have smaller portions of older workers. Minnesota's share of skilled workers above the age of 45 stands at 52.1 percent, and 19.4 percent of its workers are older than 55.
The 21 occupations EMSI analyzed for its rankings, which were published in March, don't include occupations directly tied to the oil industry. But employment in some fields, like welding, can be influenced indirectly by job growth in western North Dakota's oil boom.
Kevin Iverson, manager of the census office at the North Dakota Department of Commerce, said data he's analyzed indicates many young people are migrating to North Dakota, likely for job opportunities. Median hourly earnings for skilled laborers in North Dakota are $20.63, $4 more than in South Dakota, but less than in Minnesota.
"If you look at the industries that have had a lot of growth in North Dakota … the majority of the growth has been in the younger age groups," he said. He noted that less than 25 percent of those working in the oil industry in the fourth quarter of 2000 were under the age of 35, a proportion that jumped to 52 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
For the full news story visit inforum.com.
Dalrymple Creates Task Force for Property Tax Reform
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Dec 02, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced the creation of a task force that will guide statewide property tax reform. The 14-member Task Force on Property Tax Reform, largely represented by property taxpayers and authorities from local tax jurisdictions, will evaluate the system of assessing and collecting taxes by locally elected officials and will forward to the Governor and Legislature its recommendations for reform.
"Now that we have provided historic tax relief, it's time to take the next step and achieve lasting property tax reform," Dalrymple said. "We can improve the property tax system and provide greater transparency in the budgeting process of our local political subdivisions.
Since 2009, the state has provided an unprecedented $2.4 billion in tax relief. The state is providing more than half of the tax relief - about $1.5 billion - through reductions in local property taxes.
Although the state has continued to provide for local property tax reductions, rising property valuations have outpaced the state support within many political subdivisions, leading to net increases in local tax collections.
"I have formed this task force because the citizens of North Dakota have asked their elected state officials to address the issue of property tax increases and to shed light on the many tax authorizations that are granted to local taxing authorities," Dalrymple said. "The members of this task force represent the many stakeholders who have a vested interest in our property tax system including home owners, commercial property owners, taxpayers engaged in agricultural production, officials who represent local tax authorities and Legislators.
"We can simplify our property tax system and provide more transparency in the budgeting process of local governments," Dalrymple said. "Through the work of this task force, we may also identify opportunities to improve the property tax system in ways that result in meaningful savings for taxpayers."
Dalrymple is creating the Task Force on Property Tax Reform by executive order, directing its members to research and analyze all mill levies authorized by all political subdivisions other than school districts. The task force also will research and analyze the processes used by political subdivisions to assess and collect property taxes for funding of local government services. With the analysis in hand, the task force will identify opportunities to:
• Simplify, consolidate or eliminate unnecessary and duplicative taxes.
• Replace taxing authorities with user-based fee authorities.
• Replace tax levies with other possible revenue sources, such as state funding.
• Improve the timelines and processes used by local political subdivisions to assess and finalize property valuations and develop operating budgets.
Significant property tax reform has already been achieved within the state's school districts. The 63rd Legislative Assembly provided more than $850 million in property tax relief for the 2013-2015 biennium, including about $656 million provided through a new K-12 school funding formula that shifted the largest share of education costs from school districts to the state. The fully integrated funding formula insures that there is sufficient funding for every student in the state; it drastically reduces the local cost of education, with the state covering an average of 80 percent of school funding; it consolidates local mill levies to provide greater transparency for local property taxpayers. Meanwhile, school district officials maintain authority to ask their electors for additional tax revenue.
Dalrymple will serve as chairman of the task force. Other task force members and their representation are:
• Blaine DesLauriers of Minot, homeowner
• Hal Gershman of Grand Forks, commercial property owner
• Michael Montplaisir, Cass County Auditor
• Loren DeWitz of Bismarck, property tax payer representing agricultural producers
• Bill Wocken, Bismarck City Manager
• Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota Deputy Tax Commissioner
• Linda Svihovec, McKenzie County Auditor
• Sen. Dwight Cook of Mandan, Chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee
• Rep. Wes Belter, Chairman of the House Finance and Taxation Committee
Non-voting members of the task force are:
• James Kramer, Director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, representative for the North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association
• Mark Johnson, North Dakota Association of Counties
• Jon Godfread, The Greater North Dakota Chamber
• Blake Crosby, North Dakota League of Cities
The task force will hold its first meeting Friday, Dec. 6. Dalrymple said he wants the task force to complete its work in time to forward its research and recommendations to the 64th Legislative Assembly which will convene Jan. 6, 2015.
APUC Committed Funding Requests Totaling $233,950
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 26, 2013.The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) awarded funding requests for six projects totaling $233,950 at its quarterly meeting held November 21st at the Gladstone Inn & Suites in Jamestown.
APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
The following requests were awarded:
Very Berry Patch U-Pick & Store (Rugby) will receive $21,000 to defray costs associated with ordering berry shrubs, plants, and other supplies. In addition, the funds will support access to market these products via online channels, as well as through farmer's markets and the Pride of Dakota system.
Maple River Distillery (Casselton) was awarded $19,950 to defray costs for developing a marketing strategy for North Dakota spirits, especially Chokecherry Brandy.
Napasol North America (Fargo) was approved $26,000 to help fund a patent application for Napasol's new rotative steam-vacuum pasteurization unit. In addition, the funds will support construction of a pilot testing facility used for research and development of vacuum-steam pasteurization.
The following projects were awarded, and are pending funding upon completion of contingencies:
Endless Harvest (Jamestown) was awarded $75,000 to hire engineering services for a proof of concept project for a 2.7 acre greenhouse operation to grow leaf lettuce for North Dakota and Minnesota. The planned facility would include a greenhouse, an administrative area and classrooms for greenhouse operation education.
Pembina/Walsh County Livestock Processing Committee - Red River Regional Council (Edinburg) was awarded $42,000 to help cover costs of a contract with a private firm to prepare a business plan for the development of a multi-species meat processing plant. The plant is planned for a Pembina or Walsh County location.
WADF30, Inc. (Williston) was approved $50,000 to develop and market branding for the MonDak Gold potato. The funds will also be used for seed and additional potato grow-out so that product is continually ready for market.
The next APUC board hearing will be held February 20, 2014 in Grafton. Applications for the February meeting must be received by January 1st. Prototype and Technical Assistance grants must be received by December 1st.
North Dakota Named Best-Run State Two Years in a Row
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 24, 2013.An annual survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St. ranks North Dakota the best-run state in the nation for the second consecutive year. The national survey evaluates hundreds of data sets including statistics on financial health, standard of living and government services to determine how well each state is managed. The top five best-run states were: North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah.
"This study recognizes that North Dakota's sound fiscal policies are working," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "We are in a strong position to provide tax relief, maintain a healthy reserve while also investing in statewide infrastructure improvements, education, enhancements to our quality of life and other priorities."
The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates. The best-run states had certain characteristics in common, including well-managed budgets, high-living standards and low-unemployment. High-ranking states also demonstrated stable fiscal management and have earned high credit ratings.
In the survey, 24/7 Wall St. noted that North Dakota's GDP grew by 13.4 percent last year, fueling the nation's strongest state economy. North Dakota's economy has outpaced all other states for the past three years, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. Since 2000, North Dakota's per capita personal income has increased by more than $29,000 while the nation's average per-capita personal income has increased by $13,400.
Dalrymple, ONEOK Announce Additional Natural Gas Projects
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 19, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined executives from ONEOK Partners in announcing the energy company's plans to build its sixth and largest natural gas processing plant in western North Dakota. The Oklahoma-based company also plans to expand the capacity of its Bakken NGL pipeline.
"We continue to work with private industry to expand our take-away capacity, to add value to the natural gas produced in western North Dakota and to reduce the flaring of this valuable energy resource," Dalrymple said. "ONEOK Partners continues to be a strong partner in our continuing work. Because of their significant investments in our state, we are able to further reduce flaring and increase the market opportunities for North Dakota's natural gas."
ONEOK Partners plans to build its sixth natural gas processing plant in the Williston Basin. The Lonesome Creek plant, to be built in McKenzie County, will be capable of processing 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The plant and related gas gathering infrastructure will cost between $550 million and $680 million to build. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. It will be ONEOK Partners' largest plant with a capacity double that of and its largest existing plants and will increase the company's total natural gas processing capacity in the basin to about 800 million cubic feet per day.
Dalrymple and ONEOK also announced that the company intends to invest an additional $100 million to increase the capacity of its 600-mile Bakken NGL Pipeline. Completed in April, the pipeline transports unfractionated natural gas liquids from the Williston Basin to an interconnection in Colorado.
With the new projects, ONEOK Partners will invest more than $3 billion in the Williston Basin through 2016.
Dalrymple, ONEOK Partners Chairman and CEO John Gibson and Terry Spencer, president of ONEOK Partners, announced the projects today during a news conference at the State Capitol. ONEOK Partners is the largest independent operator of natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the Williston Basin, with a natural gas gathering system of more than 6,000 miles and more than 3 million acres where production is dedicated to its systems
North Dakota Makes Case for Selection as FAA Unmanned Aircraft Test Site
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 17, 2013.The international airport in this town of 53,000 has only two gates, but the skies around it are swarming with aircraft, making it the 28th busiest in the nation.
It isn't the big commercial airliners that earn it that distinction, but the 120 Cessna aircraft owned by North Dakota University's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
The farms stretching to the horizon in almost every direction make it clear that North Dakota's economy is still dominated by agriculture, but Grand Forks is decidedly an aviation Mecca.
The city and its university are the epicenter of the state's effort to be named one of six unmanned aviation test sites the Federal Aviation Administration will designate by the end of the year.
Read "North Dakota Makes a Case for Selection as FAA Unmanned Aircraft Test Site" on the National Defense website.
"In North Dakota there is an expertise that is already in place, not promised," said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, during a two-day media tour of the city and its aviation industry. "There is almost nothing we are promising to build if we are chosen. The infrastructure is already in place."
Boasting the first undergraduate unmanned aerial systems major in the country and the largest public collegiate aviation training and research facility in the United States, North Dakota and its namesake university are making an argument for inclusion on that list.
"We are a largely rural, flat state that has big, uncongested sky," Bob Becklund, director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, said Nov. 12. "We also have four seasons, including cold winter, in which UASs can fly to test their abilities in all types of weather."
Remotely piloted aircraft - known to the public by the somewhat misleading moniker of "drones" - are expected to have major impacts on countless industries from precision agriculture to firefighting and search and rescue once cleared to fly over U.S. soil. States vying for FAA certification anticipate a major windfall from the resulting economic impact of UAS research, development and entrepreneurship.
North Dakota is in the running with a field of 25 contestants from two dozen states seeking an FAA designation as a test site to aid the congressionally mandated 2015 deadline for integration of drones into the national airspace. The FAA is expected to make its choice within 45 days and intends to have the first test site up and running within six months.
The FAA wants six diverse sites with differing terrain, climate and populations where drones can fly relatively unrestricted in skies uncluttered with commercial aircraft. While Grand Forks' airport bristles with local commercial traffic, on a map of airliner traffic over the United States, North Dakota skies are nearly blank.
The state government has already spent $1 million in funding from its Department of Commerce just in the effort to gain certification. Another $4 million is allocated for setting up the test center if and when North Dakota is chosen.
That sum is on top of $13.5 million the state has already invested in UAV research and development.
North Dakota is not alone in setting aside resources to chase that pot of gold. The State of Utah undertook a study to determine the economic impact of hosting one of six new Federal Aviation Administration test sites for unpiloted aircraft. The tally: more than 23,000 new jobs adding up to $12 billion in wages, $720 million in new tax revenues and an overall $23 billion in total economic impact over 10 years.
Bruce Smith, dean of the North Dakota aviation school, said the school's expertise in training pilots of manned aircraft has directly translated to the training of unmanned aircraft.
UND students already fly around 120,000 flight hours per year to become commercially certified pilots, he said.
The UAS program had only five students in 2009 and has since grown to 134. Each receives certification as a commercial pilot along with instruction in UAS flight, engineering and research. So far 30 students have graduated with a major in unmanned aircraft. Most have gone on to career with major defense contractors that build drones. General Atomics has employed the lion's share, Al Palmer, director of the UND UAS Center of Excellence, said.
He said the school will not eschew manned flight experience in its pursuit of unmanned technology and education.
"We expect that the FAA is not going to let up on UAS operators being trained pilots of manned aircraft," Palmer said. "The students from here, when they graduate with a UAS major, can fly manned or unmanned aircraft. Everything we've been doing for years with manned aircraft we are now doing with unmanned aircraft."
Unmanned aircraft were pioneered by the U.S. military and some of their applications, particularly in targeted killings of suspected terrorists, have made their employment controversial. Grand Forks knows both the commercial and military unmanned aircraft worlds well. The city is home to Grand Forks Air Force Base, from which all of the Air Force's Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft are launched or controlled. The North Dakota Air National Guard flies Reaper and Predator drones out of the base.
North Dakota University is the home of the only civilian owned Predator Mission Aircrew Training System - a purpose-built drone simulator made by L-3 Link - in the United States. For security reasons, the simulator is housed on the Air Force base, where students participate in a civilian training research program using the device.
But Grand Forks Air Force Base has taken licks during recent rounds of federal budget cuts and previous rounds of base realignment and closure proceedings. It has long lost its nuclear missile mission and is no longer home to strategic bombers. The Air Force last year decided that the manned U-2 reconnaissance aircraft can more efficiently perform surveillance missions than the unmanned Global Hawk and it canceled that program.
Maj. Gen. David Spryncznatyk, the states' Air National Guard adjutant general, said the future focus of Grand Forks will be on training future military drone pilots. It is the only base in the U.S that houses Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk drones.
"Grand Forks [Air Force Base] is unique in that we have all three major unmanned missions at one base. We also have a Global Hawk launch and recovery capability that we use to hand off the aircraft to pilots training at other bases," he said. "We would like to expand our training mission in future years."
In response to Base Realignment and Closure downsizing - the 5,000-acre base now has only 1,700 uniformed personnel - a group of local officials formed the Base Realignment Impact Committee to find future economic development opportunities in partnership with the Air Force and base officials. BRIC has agreed to lease 217 acres of excess capacity on the base to create the nation's first unmanned aerial systems technology and business park.
Once skies are cleared for remotely piloted aircraft, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates purchases of about 590,000 commercial unmanned air systems for the precision agriculture industry alone by 2021. The UAV lobby predicts 70,000 new jobs with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion following integration. By 2025, the economic impact of commercial drones could result in the creation of more than 100,000 jobs and an influx of more than $80 billion, the association estimates.
Land Board Sends $12.2 Million to Wester ND
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 13, 2013.The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $12.2 million in Energy Impact Grant funds to help fund enhancements for emergency services and fire districts throughout the state's oil and gas counties.
"These grants are an important part of a larger state commitment to help the oil and gas region meet the challenges created by rapid growth," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the five-member state Land Board. "The Energy Impact Grant Fund allows us to address a wide range of challenges, but we must always be prepared to adapt our response to help meet the region's dynamic and ever-changing needs."
Other members of the Land Board are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
The Land Board today awarded about $5.2 million to enhance the region's emergency medical services and about $7 million for rural fire districts. The grants awarded today include:
- $1.2 million for Watford City to purchase a new ladder truck, fire gear a new ambulance, emergency service equipment and to fund additional emergency service staff.
- $250,000 for the Beach Community Ambulance Service to purchase a new ambulance, emergency medical equipment and funding for additional staff.
- $500,000 for the Dickinson Rural Fire District to purchase a water pumper truck.
- $360,000 for the Williston Rural Fire District to purchase a fire truck.
- $325,000 for the Wildrose Fire District in Williams to complete construction a new fire hall.
- $270,000 for the city of Tioga to buy a new ambulance and to complete an addition to the fire hall.
- $564,000 for Stanley to help purchase a new ambulance, a rescue truck and fire gear.
For a complete list of grants approved by the Land Board today go to www.nd.gov/energyimpact
The Land Board will award about $240 million in energy impact grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. The grants are addressing a wide range of needs in western North Dakota, including enhancements for law enforcement agencies, upgrades to airports as wells as county and city infrastructure and support for growing schools.
In all, the state has committed about $2.6 billion to support the state's oil and gas region during the 2013-2015 biennium. The state's 2013-2015 commitment - more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion - is being used to address many needs in western North Dakota, including: highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects; the development of low-to-moderate income housing and assistance for growing school districts. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region's court system and funding for dust suppression projects.
Develoment Fund Awards Funding Requests Totaling $481,713
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Nov 04, 2013.The North Dakota Development Fund, a loan program within the North Dakota Department of Commerce, awarded funding for three projects totaling $481,713 at its monthly board meeting held in October.
The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and exported service companies.
The following requests were funded:
Spiral Light Candle Corporation, Hillsboro, ND was awarded new funding of $131,713 to help provide raw materials and working capital to expand the company's sales area and achieve its planned growth in revenues. Spiral Light Candle Corporation manufactures various types of spiral burning candles and employs 10 full-time employees.
IDA of Moorhead Corporation, Fargo, ND was approved for a new loan of $150,000 to help in the funding of working capital. The funds are needed to achieve the company's planned growth in revenues. IDA Corporation of Moorhead's primary business is engineering and manufacturing small desk top remote controls for two-way radio systems.
Gates Manufacturing, Inc., Lansford, ND received a renewal of its $200,000 line of credit to finance the company's working capital needs. Gates Manufacturing, Inc. manufactures light and heavy harrows and other tillage equipment for the agricultural industry. The company employs 25 full-time employees.
APUC to Review Funding Requests
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 30, 2013.The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for eight projects totaling $581,950 at its quarterly meeting. This review is scheduled for November 21st at the Gladstone Inn & Suites in Jamestown.
APUC is a committee of the North Dakota Department of Commerce that administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
The following requests will be reviewed:
Bio-Sunn, Inc (Garrison) is requesting $132,000 to defray costs to finalize feasibility and market studies required for USDA state and private financing to construct a Landmark plant in Walhalla, ND. The plant will manufacture ethanol, flax composites, and treeless paper products. Initial feasibility and prototype studies have been completed. Contact Thomas Chuckel at 602-234-5383 for additional information.
Endless Harvest (Jamestown) is requesting $150,000 to hire engineering services for a proof of concept project for a 2.7 acre greenhouse operation to grow leaf lettuce for North Dakota and Minnesota. The planned facility would include a greenhouse, an administrative area and classrooms for greenhouse operation education. Contact Lance Brower at 701-658-9020 for additional information.
Maple River Distillery (Casselton) is requesting $19,950 to defray costs for developing a marketing strategy for North Dakota spirits, especially Chokecherry Brandy. Contact Greg Kempel at 701-361-0773 for additional information.
Napasol North America (Fargo) is requesting $26,000 to help fund a patent application for Napasol's new rotative steam-vacuum pasteurization unit. In addition, the funds will support construction of a pilot testing facility used for research and development of vacuum-steam pasteurization. Contact Joseph Kallenbach at 701-478-3020 for additional information.
Pembina/Walsh County Livestock Processing Committee (Edinburg) is requesting $42,000 to help cover costs of a contract with a private firm to prepare a business plan for the development of a multi-species meat processing plant. The plant is planned for a Pembina or Walsh County location. Contact John Langerud at 701-331-1600 for additional information.
Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc (Bismarck) is requesting that $100,000 will be available to companies seeking technical assistance from Dakota MEP, based on APUC pre-approval. The goal is to advance innovation through the implementation and commercialization phases. Contact Dan Halverson at 701-328-5472 for additional information.
Very Berry Patch U-Pick & Store (Rugby) is requesting $11,000 to defray costs associated with ordering berry shrubs, plants, and other supplies. In addition, the funds will support access to these products via online channels, as well as through farmer's markets and the Pride of Dakota system. Contact Mirek Petrovic at 701-542-2537 for additional information.
WADF30, Inc. (Williston) is requesting $101,000 to develop and market branding for the MonDak Gold potato. The funds will also be used for seed and additional potato grow-out so that product is continually ready for market. Contact Jerald Bergman at 701-774-4315 for additional information.
Flying Without Leaving the Ground
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 30, 2013.At the University of North Dakota, one of the country's largest collegiate flight schools, they're flying something different: Drones.
By 2018, just five years from now, the FAA projects that 7500 drones, or unmanned aircraft, could be flying in U.S. airspace. And the University of North Dakota hopes to be supplying many of their pilots.
View "Flying Without Leaving the Ground" at Yahoo.com.
The University of North Dakota's aviation program at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is huge and internationally prestigious. They train helicopter pilots, air traffic controllers, and they fly hundreds of flights a day from Grand Forks airport making it the 23rd-busiest in the United States, despite having only six commercial flights.
The Unmanned Aviation Systems major, which started in 2009, now has 134 undergraduates. And it's one of the fastest-growing majors.
"Our school has always been entrepreneurial," says Bruce Smith, dean of the Odegard School. "So there's always been a connection between the degrees our students get and the jobs and the careers that are available out in the industry."
The newly minted drone pilots, all commercially licensed pilots as well can earn as much as $120,000 a year depending on the position. And while military combat has dominated the past decade, the future offers a wide array of possibilities, like fighting forest fires.
"Being able to coordinate where..water is used, where manpower is used, where aircrafts drop their retardants," says UND student Scott Johnson. "You're going to be able to fight the fire so much more effectively because you'll be able to see it from 60,000 feet."
Student Jake Schultz sees drones being applied to farming. "You could use one to just fly over crops to see maybe where there's disease, and then you can go in with maybe a different [drone] that would actually have chemicals on board that you can spray."
Aside from the academic study of flight, students spend a huge amount of time practicing to fly in state-of-the-art flight simulators. But learning to fly while seated on the ground. That's a different skill set.
"You have to almost create an imaginary picture of what is happening around the aircraft since you aren't physically there inside the aircraft," says UND student Meg Kaiser.
Critics, though, express concerns about a future where drones can fly practically anywhere and potentially violate privacy.
"It's tempting to compare drones to small planes or helicopters or different technologies that we know, but it can be hard to know who is flying the particular drone or who it belongs to or who's getting the feed," says Parker Higgins from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "And that creates a situation where the technology's moving fast and law moves at the same pace as it always does."
The University of North Dakota takes these issues seriously and requires any flight test of its unmanned aircraft to be vetted and approved by a committee.
"So, it was a natural extension for us to create a compliance committee that looked at the use of unmanned aircraft in the same way that a medical school would look at use of human subjects in the use of different test drugs," says Dean Smith.
Once accepted and regulated by the FAA in the next few years, unmanned aircraft may have a bigger role than anyone realizes, and more and more pilots may be flying from the ground.
"Within the next 15 years, unmanned aircraft will be the platform of choice for everything airborne except for passenger travel and for general aviation," adds Dean Smith.
Air Force Announces Intention to Sign Enhanced Use Lease with Grand Forks County
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 22, 2013.Today the United States Air Force announced it intends to sign a lease with Grand Forks County for the development of a Business Park on approximately 217 acres at Grand Forks Air Force Base. The county will provide cash payments to the Air Force in exchange for the 50-year lease. The State of North Dakota committed $2.5 million during the last legislative session and the ND Department of Transportation is assisting the county with access roads up to another $2.5 million for a total of $5 million from the state.
"This is important news for Grand Forks," Gov. Dalrymple said. "The Enhanced Use Lease program will diversify the Grand Forks County employment base and provide financial and operational support to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. We look forward to continuing to work with the county on this program going forward."
This will also enhance Grand Forks' UAS capabilities.
North Dakota Ranks #1 in Best States for Young Adults
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 14, 2013.MoneyRates.com announced North Dakota ranks #1 among all states in the best states for young adults.The study focuses on where 20-24 year olds have the best shot at thriving in today's economy. The study analyzed nine key lifestyle factors in all 50 states including career opportunities, education costs, car insurance rates, housing, nightlife, and overall healthfulness.
"This ranking highlights the many opportunities for young adults in our diverse business community," Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said.
The study states: North Dakota is attracting young people: It now has a higher proportion of people age 18-24 than any other state.
The MoneyRates.com study reports the youth unemployment rate in North Dakota at 5.1 percent, the lowest of all 50 states. The full report from MoneyRates.com is available at: http://www.money-rates.com/research-center/best-states-for-young-people-2013.htm
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
Dakota MEP to Hold Business Growth Summit
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 13, 2013.A Business Growth Summit will be held November 20th at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center on the Microsoft campus in Fargo. The event, organized by the Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), will focus on helping existing companies with their commitment to innovation.
"We've noted how important continuous improvement, innovation and people development are to overall company performance," Dakota MEP CEO Randy Schwartz said. "Unfortunately innovation has become a "buzz" word. Our objectives at this event are to help companies learn more about the power of innovation and how to put it to work - via new customers, markets, processes, products or services."
"This event is a great opportunity to connect with innovative business executives and others with a stake in building our economy from across the state," North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. "A key to future success in North Dakota is fueling innovation with our existing companies to help them grow the businesses of tomorrow."
The one-day conference will feature Robert B. Tucker, president and founder of The Innovation Resource. Tucker has been a consultant and keynote speaker for 25 years. Tucker has published numerous books on innovation, has appeared on ABC, NBC, PBS and was a featured guest on the CNBC series, The Business of Innovation. His clients include over 200 of the Fortune 500 and his team has worked in over 45 countries helping business and government leaders make Innovation central to their future.
A panel discussion during the conference will feature best practices from leaders of area companies including Spectrum Aeromed; John Deere Electronic Solutions; the Energy & Environmental Research Center; Intelligent InSites; and WCCO Belting.
The conference is hosted by Microsoft, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and Dakota MEP. For additional information, to register or to help sponsor the conference visit: www.InnovationDakota.com.
Wrigley, UND Announce UAS Flight Training Program
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 09, 2013.UAS Flight Training to Support State's Overarching UAS Development Strategy
The University of North Dakota John Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences next year will offer a cutting-edge flight training program for future pilots of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and university officials announced today.
The university, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, is developing a curriculum that will incorporate the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS), a state-of-the-art UAS simulator used to train flight students.
Wrigley said the UAS flight training program will further solidify UND's national leadership in aerospace sciences and augment work underway to expand the state's larger UAS industry. Wrigley is chairman of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authority, a six-member commission assembled to advance the state's UAS opportunities. The commission will also provide oversight should North Dakota be selected one of six test sites for UAS integration into the national airspace.
"The work underway at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, the UAS Center of Excellence and the UAS Training Facility are fortifying North Dakota's position as a leader in UAS technology, commerce, research and training," Wrigley said. "The Predator Mission Aircrew Training System is another advantage that North Dakota has in providing the highly skilled workforce that is needed to advance this growing industry and to secure a national UAS test site designation."
Last week, the university started a pilot program to test the curriculum for a 10-week course that will teach students how to operate remotely piloted aircraft. The university plans to officially launch the new training course in January 2014 with 32 students.
"This is another major development in Unmanned Aircraft Systems education, research and training at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and the University of North Dakota," said UND President Robert Kelley. "It's fitting that this new training program is being announced during our Homecoming and Spirit Week celebrations, as it demonstrates the top-notch people and curriculum that are represented here and that are being recognized around the world. We want to thank Lt. Gov. Wrigley for his leadership in these endeavors and commend people such as Al Palmer, Bob Becklund, John Bridewell and many others for their efforts to make these opportunities happen."
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is providing $5.48 million for UND to conduct research and develop the flight training program that will incorporate the use of the PMAT simulator. Through the partnership, the Air Force will glean valuable research that will help determine the most effective and efficient strategies for UAS flight training in the military.
Using the same model for training that UND has used for manned aviation for decades, the students in the course will learn on a family of simulators before advancing to a PMATS to learn what it's like to operate a UAV that can fly between 18,000 and 30,000 feet. UND was the first school nationwide to offer a bachelor's degree in UAS operations, beginning its program in 2009.
"When the military started using UAS years ago, they had to immediately rush them overseas, so it took a lot of time to train the pilots on how to fly the vehicles," said John Bridewell, professor of aviation at UND and the lead researcher on the program. "This research will allow us to use the latest teaching technology to figure out a way to make the current training more efficient, reducing the amount of time it takes to bring someone up to competency, which will ultimately save tax payers money."
The UAS PMATS Training Center, which is an extension of UND's UAS Center of Excellence program, was established in 2011. The state provided more than $2.7 million in enhancement grants to fund the purchase of the simulator. Funding was also used to remodel the building provided by the U.S. Air Force and budget for staffing. To date, North Dakota has provided more than $14.5 million through the Centers of Excellence/Centers of Research Excellence programs in support of the UAS industry.
The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of selecting six locations around the country to test the integration of unmanned aircraft into civilian airspace. As a leading contender, North Dakota has appropriated funding of $5 million to support the test site if it receives a designation.
According to Bridewell, the UAS flight training is just one more reason the FAA should choose North Dakota for its UAS test site. Once the FAA integrates the nation's airspace, UND - through its research and training programs - will be in a position to be lead the nation in the safe and transparent use of UAS technologies.
10th Annual North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest Winners Named
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Oct 08, 2013.First Lady Betsy Dalrymple celebrated the 10th anniversary of the North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest with a special unveiling of the winning photos today in the Memorial Hall of the North Dakota Capitol building. Six winning photos, seven honorable mentions and the Best of Show were revealed.
Joining the First Lady in the presentation were North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) Executive Director Jan Webb and AAA Senior Public Affairs Representative Gene LaDoucer.
The Best of Show winning photo and photographer was "Medora@Night" by Brian Ward.
This year's contest, which started in May, attracted 732 photo entries.
"Today we not only celebrate 10 years of the Governor's Photo Contest, but we also are showcasing the talents of our state's amateur photographers who uniquely capture the beauty and originality of North Dakota," the First Lady said. "There's no one better at capturing our state's attractions and beautiful scenery than North Dakota's amateur photographers, who experience first-hand the legendary offerings awaiting our visitors."
Photos were judged on originality, subject matter, visual appeal and ability to portray North Dakota as a legendary travel destination in the categories of adventure, attractions, events, people, scenery and wildlife.
"Each year, we're amazed by the beautiful photos North Dakota's amateur photographers take and share for this contest. The amount of talent they have is remarkable, and I thank them for sharing their talents with us," Otte Coleman said.
The North Dakota Governor's Photo Contest began as a collaborative program between the Governor's Office and North Dakota Tourism, and has grown to include AAA as a contest sponsor and the NDCA as a collaborative partner.
The NDCA, along with the offices of Governor Jack Dalrymple, First Lady Betsy Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, will exhibit the works of the 2013 Governor's Photo Contest winners. This is part of a cooperative program between NDCA and the First Lady's office. Canvas displays were printed and sponsored in part by Mathison's.
"Thanks to First Lady Betsy Dalrymple's interest in photography that features our state's beautiful scenery and attractions, these pieces of art have another place to be showcased," Webb said.
AAA, North America's largest travel organization, will also display winning photos as part of its sponsorship.
"Through our sponsorship, winning photos from the Governor's Photo Contest are eligible for display in AAA North Dakota branch offices and may be printed in AAA regional publications. Both venues provide additional exposure of North Dakota and also to the state's talented amateur photographers," LaDoucer said.
The contest has grown significantly since its beginnings. Otte Coleman noted that contest attracted more than 300 submission its first year. Overall, approximately 7,600 photos have been submitted during the decade-long contest.
Social media has also impacted the contest. For the fourth year, photographers were able to submit photos online through image and video hosting site, Flickr. Otte Coleman said this method of submitting a photo was added by request of photographers shooting digitally.
Winning photographers will receive a $200 cash prize for each winning photo and have their work featured in North Dakota Tourism's marketing materials, along with even greater exposure through contest partner AAA. A Best of Show photo was selected from the winning photographs, and the photographer will receive an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA. Honorable mention winners will receive $50 and may also have their images featured in tourism marketing materials.
The contest is held annually and is open to any North Dakota amateur photographer. Next year's contest will begin in May 2014. Winning photos can be seen at the North Dakota Tourism website at www.NDTourism.com.
2013 Governor's Photo Contest Winners (by category):
Best of ShowWinning Photographer: Brian Ward, Hunter
Winning photograph: "Medora@Night"
Adventure CategoryWinning photographer: Dave Bruner, Grand Forks
Winning photograph: "Photographing the Little Missouri River in the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota"
Attraction CategoryWinning photographer: Brian Ward, Hunter
Winning photograph: "Medora@Night"
Honorable MentionsPhotographer: Anna Meidinger, Wishek
Photographer: Dave Bruner, Grand Forks
"Sunrise on Hole #9 @ King's Walk"
Events Category Winning photographer: Brian Ward, Hunter
Winning photograph: "Calm¬_Before_The_Storm" (Lake Ashtabula)
Honorable Mentions Photographer: Ben Gumeringer, Bismarck
People Category Winning photographer: Angie Waletzko, Lisbon
Winning photograph: "Sisters in Snow"
Scenery categoryWinning photographer: Dan Schill, Jamestown
Winning photograph: "ND Sunset"
Honorable MentionsPhotographer: Mary Lizakowski, Grand Forks
"Beauty as Far as the Eye Can See"
Photographer: Dale Rehder, West Fargo"Fog at Sunrise"
Wildlife CategoryWinning photographer: Dave Bruner, Grand Forks
Winning photograph: "Day Before Pheasant Season"
Honorable MentionsPhotographer: Derek Stout, Bismarck
"Northern Saw-Whet Owl"
Photographer: Anna Meidinger, Wishek"Western Grebe"
University of North Dakota Receives Only Draganfly Factory Authorization in the World
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 30, 2013.
New designation will further enhance UAS training in the state
This August, the University of North Dakota (UND) became a factory-authorized training center for Draganfly's line of small unmanned aircraft, which allows the school to conduct instruction and training on UAS including the X6 and X4ES models. This authorization will eventually expand into a flight-related course for undergrads to experience the Draganflyer X6 first-hand.
"This relationship raises the bar," said Alan Frazier, assistant professor at the Aviation Department at UND and Deputy Sheriff at the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department. "It's the first and only Draganfly factory training authorization in the world."
Since 2012, the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department has also been using the Draganflyer X6 for training as a research collaboration effort between the sheriff's department, UND and Draganfly. This collaboration has helped the sheriff's department to look at the feasibility of using UAS to assist in public safety.
How Draganflyer UAS are Currently Being Used in North Dakota
Using the Draganflyer X6 and X4ES, the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department has incorporated a variety of mission scenarios into its training program, which includes disaster assessment, photo documentation in mock investigation scenes and simulating search situations involving crime suspects or missing persons.
The department has also used small UAS, including the Draganflyer aircraft, in six actual missions to date. In two situations, the UAS assisted the Northeast Regional Water Operations Team to search for possible drowning victims. Other missions involved looking for a traffic victim in an accident in Manville, N.D., assisting in documenting a major accident where a train was struck by a utility vehicle, searching for two fleeing felony suspects and assisting the state department and assisting parks and recreation with documenting river erosion for their annual records.
How Students will Train on the Draganfly First-Hand
UND currently has four simulations representing unmanned aircraft such as the ScanEagle system, with certified instructors dedicated to train how to operate the particular systems. The Draganflyer UAS will likely be incorporated into the curriculum in the spring of 2014 and will allow students to get the hands-on experience that simulations don't provide.
"It's difficult to get that level of sophistication from a simulation," said Frazier. "The level of realism is much greater and those factors of situational awareness come into play with actually flying the aircraft."
The hands-on experience in training with the Draganflyer will allow students to experience safely assessing the area the aircraft is going to be flown. Students will have to determine current weather conditions, such as storms, wind velocity and cloud height. Students will also be able to learn about airspace integration by knowing what notifications have to be made, when they need to be made and avoiding manned aircraft in the area.
And the training at UND has been put to good use: Field of View, a start-up company that makes UAS products for agricultural aerial imaging, was founded by UND graduate, David Dvorak. The company's flagship product Geo-Snap is an add-on device for multispectral cameras that takes the images captured from the camera and maps them with real-world coordinates so farmers can target areas of stress on their crops.
"It's been beneficial to have such an open environment where you can access any expertise," said Dvorak. "Since we're a business that has to deal with unmanned aircraft and agriculture, I don't think you can find a better place with that combination of expertise and emphasis in that area."
A Strong History of UAV Research and Testing
As the university looks forward to incorporating the Draganflyer X6 into its curriculum, representatives from North Dakota are looking forward to this December when the FAA determines the six UAS sites that will help test and research how to incorporate UAVs into civilian skies.
The new training designation and UND's undergraduate program are just one of the many examples of why it would be in the best interest of the FAA to pick North Dakota for one of the test sites.
North Dakota has created the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority to oversee the operation and integration of UAS if chosen and is the only state that has appropriated $5 million to pursue and develop a national UAS test site.
Representatives from the state have also gone to industry events such as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference and the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus Fair in Washington, D.C. to meet with companies, industry thought leaders and federal decision makers.
Along with UND's aerospace training, the university has implemented an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Compliance Committee, which includes first responders, university community members, clergy and city leadership. Every research project involving UND's UAS has to be approved by the committee.
"It's the only entity in the world of its kind," said Frazier. "The University of North Dakota has robust privacy protections in place and we are taking significant measures to ensure privacy in the future of the industry."
North Dakota Ranks Second Among Best State For Business
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 25, 2013.North Dakota ranks second in Forbes' 2013 report of best states for business and careers, moving up one ranking from last year.
Forbes annual ranking measures six vital categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Forbes factors in 35 points of data to determine the rank in the six main areas.
"North Dakota consistently ranks among the nation's best states for business and that is a testament to our dedicated workforce and the opportunities created by our diverse business community," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "The state will continue working hard to provide for a business climate that fosters the creation of great careers and the quality of life that people desire."
North Dakota ranked second best among all states in the category of economic climate and third in business costs. Virginia ranked first in the report's overall ranking.
The report states, "North Dakota has boasted the country's most robust economy over the past five years. It is tops for job growth (3.7 percent annually), income growth (3.8 percent), gross state product growth (7.9 percent) and unemployment (3.6 percent average). With the nation's third best economic growth forecast over the next five years, its outlook looks strong too."
The full report is available at: forbes.com/best-states-for-business/
Dalrymple, Allette Detail Plans for Integrated Energy Corridor
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 24, 2013.Energy Corridor Would Reduce Natural Gas Flaring, Expand Markets for ND Energy
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and members of the EmPower North Dakota Commission today joined ALLETE executives in announcing the Minnesota-based energy company's plans to develop a comprehensive energy transportation corridor. ALLETE's energy corridor would consolidate the shipment of energy resources through a single pathway, expand the state's capacity to transport natural gas and other energy resources and offer new solutions for the management of wastewater and carbon dioxide.
The energy corridor could parallel a 465-mile electric transmission right of way already operated by ALLETE. The energy company's existing right of way supports the company's transmission line which carries electricity from the lignite-fired Young Generating Station in Center, N.D., and the nearby Bison Wind Energy Center to Duluth, Minn.
ALLETE Clean Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ALLETE, plans to extend the right of way another 60 miles to western North Dakota and make room on the pathway to transport natural gas and other energy to major connections in Minnesota. From Minnesota, the energy resources can be channeled to seaports, refineries and other markets.
"The ALLETE Energy Corridor is a breakthrough opportunity to significantly reduce the flaring of natural gas and increase our take-away capacity for all of our energy resources," Dalrymple said. "This integrated corridor would expand the market opportunities for North Dakota energy and reduce the impacts on landowners by consolidating energy transmission.
"The corridor would not only support the development of natural gas and oil, but also wind- and coal-generated electricity," Dalrymple said. "The corridor also has the potential to solve challenges in the management of wastewater and carbon dioxide generated at coal-fired power plants,"
ALLETE officials said the corridor could supply natural gas to value-added energy ventures such as fertilizer production plants under development in North Dakota. Other opportunities include the transfer of water and wastewater as well as carbon dioxide generated at coal-fired power plants.
Dalrymple, ALLETE President, Chairman and CEO Alan Hodnik and Eric Norberg, president of ALLETE Clean Energy, outlined the company's plans for an energy corridor during a news conference at the State Capitol. Hodnik and Norberg also detailed the project for members of the EmPower North Dakota Commission. Established by the Legislature, the EmPower North Dakota Commission is charged with assisting the state in developing a comprehensive energy policy. The commission is chaired by Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
"We see the ALLETE Energy Corridor as a comprehensive infrastructure solution in North Dakota that could serve many products and producers across the region," Hodnik said. "We value Gov. Dalrymple's support of our vision and appreciate him bringing it forward to other members of the state's energy sector."
Hodnik and Norberg said ALLETE is in talks with companies that are interested in participating in the energy corridor.
"This project could expedite efforts to expand our energy take-away capacity because the vast majority of this pathway already exists," Dalrymple said. "I encourage all members of our diverse energy industry to consider the potential that this comprehensive energy corridor could provide."
More information about the ALLETE Energy Corridor is available at: alletecleanenergy.com
Fuel with 15 Percent Ethanol Available in North Dakota
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 23, 2013.A new blend of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol is available in North Dakota.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and members of the state's agriculture and ethanol industries announced the introduction of E15 blended gasoline on Monday in Bismarck. The fuel is available at six Petro Serve USA locations in Bismarck, Mandan, West Fargo and Fargo, officials said.
Most ethanol fuel sold for passenger vehicles is 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the use of E15 in vehicles made since 2001.
The North Dakota Ethanol Council said E15 costs 3 percent to 5 percent less than unleaded gasoline. Motorists using E15 may see a loss of less than 2 percent in miles per gallon, the Bismarck-based trade group said.
Pumps dispensing E15 must be clearly labeled. The fuel is not approved for older vehicles, boats, lawnmowers and other small engines.
Dalrymple said North Dakota is the ninth state to offer E15.
North Dakota has four ethanol plants that employ about 200 people. Dalrymple said the ethanol industry contributes more than $640 million annually to North Dakota's economy.
"Ethanol creates North Dakota jobs," Dalrymple said in a statement. "It's good for the environment, it's good for our farmers and it's good for the country.
North Dakota's ethanol production has risen from about 30 million gallons annually in 2005 to more than 377 million gallons at present, state records show.
North Dakota Leaders Promote UAS Assets to House Members in Washington D.C.
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 17, 2013.North Dakota vying for one of six FAA UAS Test Sites
North Dakota unmanned aerial systems (UAS) leaders will be in Washington, D.C., this Thursday to attend the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus Science and Technology Fair to be held in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer.
During the Unmanned Systems Caucus Fair, the delegation will be tasked with building awareness of North Dakota's efforts to be chosen as one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test sites tasked to assist the FAA to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the same airspace as manned vehicles.
Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Kevin Cramer, North Dakota will have the opportunity to showcase its UAS capabilities alongside other organizations including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and NASA.
"Being a member of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, I was happy to ensure the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority received a table at the Caucus Fair," said Congressman Cramer. "The Northern Plains group will do an excellent job furthering our goal to increase awareness of unmanned systems and its potential benefits to industry, government and private users."
The Unmanned Systems Caucus Fair is just one of the many steps that leaders in North Dakota are taking to build awareness and assure confidence among decision makers that North Dakota is well prepared to be one of the six test sites.
North Dakota has created the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, led by its Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley. North Dakota has appropriated $5 million to pursue and develop a national UAS test site, $4 million of which is operational funding contingent on FAA selection of a North Dakota test site.
Robert Becklund, recently appointed as the executive director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, is currently overseeing the state's UAS efforts and is the primary contact with the FAA.
"In the past few months, we've taken a variety of steps to assure that the UAS decision-makers in the industry, government and academia are aware of the incredible capabilities that North Dakota can offer them," Becklund said. "We have a very strong submission into the FAA, and we are confident that North Dakota is uniquely suited to help them solve the very complicated issues associated with flying unmanned aircraft safely in our national airspace system."
Becklund's career mirrors that of the UAS industry in the United States which has moved from military to civilian applications in just the past few years.
Becklund began his military career by enlisting in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1982 as a Flight Simulator Technician, before eventually becoming the commander of the North Dakota Air National Guard in 2004. During his time as commander, Becklund was integral in switching the unit from manned F-16 fighters to unmanned MQ-1 Predator UASs.
Now, Becklund has been tasked with bringing one of the UAS test sites to North Dakota.
"Here in North Dakota, we have all the elements needed to assist the FAA," said Becklund. "We have low population density, strong UAS research through our team members at the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University, unequalled aviation training and expertise at the UND's Aerospace Program, and plenty of UAS expertise thanks to the local and deployed flight activity of UND and the Office of the Adjutant General."
In addition to promoting the state's UAS strengths, Becklund is currently preparing for test site operations, since the FAA proposal has mandated that test sites begin operations within 180 days after selection.
Preparations include identifying research projects that study key points of interest for the FAA including command and control links, and detect-and-avoid systems, identifying needed infrastructure for the site and communicating to companies the business benefits of working in North Dakota including tax incentives and research support.
"North Dakota is the right place at the right time for a thriving UAS industry," Lt. Gov. Wrigley said. "The infrastructure and expertise already in action around North Dakota prove that we are in a prime position to advance the nation's UAS efforts."
The FAA, which received 25 proposals from around the nation, is scheduled to make an announcement in December.
North Dakota's Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority membership includes UAS experts from the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences - University of North Dakota; the Office of Research, Creative Activities, and Technology Transfer - North Dakota State University; the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission; the North Dakota Department of Commerce; and North Dakota's Office of the Adjutant General.
Bobcat Partners with NDSU
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 16, 2013.Bobcat Company is renewing its partnership with NDSU with a $600,000 agreement.
Bobcat will donate $2 for every $1 provided by North Dakota's Centers of Excellence program.
The R&D partnership will help fund new product development and improve manufacturing processes.
Bobcat officials say it benefits both the company and the school.
Laura Owens- Bobcat Director of Communication: "The students get to take part in something; and they get to contribute their skills and knowledge and we get to bring our skills and knowledge, and really do things that we may not otherwise be able to do on our own. So, it benefits both the school in providing them an education opportunity, as well as us in providing a collaboration opportunity."
Bobcat began its partnership with NDSU in 2005.
Gov. Dalrymple, Energy Industry Announce Natural Gas Advancement
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 16, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Aux Sable Midstream, LLC and Summit Midstream Partners, LP today announced the completion of a natural gas purchase agreement to transfer from western North Dakota as much as 25 million cubic feet of natural gas per day for processing in Illinois. The agreement between Aux Sable and Summit Midstream creates a direct and long-term market for North Dakota natural gas and will enhance the state's ongoing efforts to reduce flaring.
"We continue to work with private industry to expand our take-away capacity, to add value to the natural gas produced in western North Dakota and to reduce the flaring of this valuable energy resource," Dalrymple said. "This project aligns with our overriding goals and I commend Aux Sable Midstream and Summit Midstream Partners for their commitment to move more North Dakota natural gas to market."
The agreement calls for Summit Midstream Partners to supply Aux Sable Midstream with natural gas collected at Summit Midstream Partner's Bison pipeline gathering system in Burke and Mountrail counties. Aux Sable will purchase as much as 25 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, with options to increase the supply. The natural gas will be transported via Aux Sable Midstream's Prairie Rose Pipeline and the Alliance Pipeline for processing at Aux Sable's natural gas liquids processing plant in Channahon, Ill.
State officials continue working with the energy industry to develop other projects to reduce flaring and add value to North Dakota natural gas. Additionally, the state is providing research funding and tax incentives for the energy industry to expand its capacity to capture, ship and process natural gas.
Since 2010, the energy industry in North Dakota has more than tripled the amount of natural gas it gathers at oil well sites and sends to market. Today, the energy industry is capturing about 642 million cubic feet of natural gas every day compared to the 205 million cubic feet per day captured three years ago. Still, the industry must continue to expand its capture of natural gas as more and more oil wells come on line in western North Dakota. Reducing the flaring of natural gas requires a committed effort between landowners, the energy industry, tribal leaders as well as local, state and federal government.
North Dakota Sets Oil, Gas Production Highs
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 16, 2013.The number of wells currently producing oil and natural gas in North Dakota reached a record high in July, the state resource officials said.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission of the Department of Mineral Resources said 9,322 wells were in production in July, an all-time high, and nearly all were targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations.
Lynn Helms, director of the NDIC, said the rig count decreased from June to July but the number of wells completed increased from 102 to 251, leading to an increase in oil production in the state.
The NDIC said July oil production was 108,258 barrels per day, a record high. A record for natural gas production was set at 970 million cubic feet per day.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates parts of North Dakota may contain as much as 7.4 billion barrels of oil and 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The state is in the No. 2 spot behind Texas in terms of production of natural resources in the United States.
Norsk Høstfest and the Medora Musical among North America's 100 best events for 2014
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 05, 2013.The American Bus Association (ABA) announced today that Norsk Høstfest and the Medora Musical have been designated Top 100 Events in North America for 2014 by an expert tourism industry selection committee.
Events are chosen by an elite tourism industry selection committee that evaluates hundreds of events from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Judges consider the event's broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria. Winners are selected from celebrations, festivals, fairs and commemorative events.
"Having two North Dakota events named to the Top 100 list shows that our state has great events that are not to be missed," North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman said. "In addition, this will provide greater awareness of these communities and events to national and international bus and tour operators."
The Medora Musical (www.medora.com), North Dakota's largest summer event, will be held nightly from June 6 to Sept. 6, 2014, in Medora. Norsk Høstfest (www.hostfest.com) is North America's largest Scandinavian festival, attracting more than 60,000 people from the U.S., Canada and Scandinavia. This five-day event will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, 2014, in Minot.
According to studies recently completed by researchers at The George Washington University and Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can leave from $5,000 to more than $11,000 in a local destination's economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.
The ABA has named both Norsk Høstfest and the Medora Musical to the top 100 in previous years. Additionally, the Dickens Village Festival in Garrison, Mandan Rodeo Days, Fargo's Pyrotechnics International Guild and the Reunion at the Home of Sakakawea in New Town also have been selected.
The Top 100 list will be published in a supplement to September/October issue of Destinations magazine.
More information about the ABA and the Top 100 Event list can be found at www.buses.org.
Department of Commerce Announces Technology-Based Entrepreneurship Grant
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 04, 2013.The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced details of the technology-based entrepreneurship grant (TBEG) program. The program is designed to grow technology based entrepreneurship in North Dakota by providing grants to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial centers in four main areas: access to capital, marketing assistance, entrepreneur infrastructure and entrepreneurial talent.
This program has two categories in which it provides funding - programs and projects. In order to be eligible for a TBEG grant, an applicant must be a certified entrepreneurial center or a technology-based business working with a certified entrepreneurial center.
Programs or projects must meet the following criteria:
- Is the underlying product or service technology-based?
- Does the underlying product or service require the innovative use of technology for manufacturing the product or delivery of the service?
- The sale of a product or service online does not, in and of itself, constitute a technology-based product or service. (i.e. having a website does not qualify a business or service as technology-based.)
An application for a project with an identified technology-based entrepreneur is limited up to $10,000 for the first phase and up to $14,000 for the second phase for a maximum total of $24,000. Project applications must use an entrepreneurial center to serve as a fiscal agent for the funds.
For additional information visit: www.commerce.nd.gov/programs/technology-based-entrepreneurship-grant-program. Additional questions about the program can be directed to Entrepreneurship Program Manager Jared Stober at 701-328-5373 or email@example.com.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
Department of Commerce Announces Energy Conservation Grant
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 03, 2013.The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced details of the Energy Conservation Grant Program. The program provides incentives for political subdivisions to implement energy conservation projects in public buildings.
All North Dakota political subdivisions are eligible for this program. The program provides 50 percent matching grants with a maximum of $100,000.
Examples of eligible projects include:
- Installation of insulation
- Installation of efficient lighting;
- Heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades
- Weather sealing
- Replacement of windows and doors
- Other energy conservation projects that meet the required payback period
Projects must be an energy efficiency retrofit to a facility owned by a nonfederal political subdivision. Each project needs to save enough energy to have a combined payback period of 10 years or less.
For additional information visit: http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/energy/political-subdivision-energy-conservation. Additional question about the program can be directed to Andrea Holl Pfennig at 701-328-2687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitation to North Dakota remains strong after Labor Day
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 03, 2013.Labor Day Weekend signifies the last big push for the summer travel season, giving many people the impression that tourism dwindles after this signature holiday. But that's not so in North Dakota, according to North Dakota Tourism.
"A recent visitor study showed September and October, considered the shoulder season in the tourism industry, trends high in visitation and not far behind the peak summer travel season," Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism said. "During the shoulder season, the weather and scenery are still nice. And, as families settle into their school routine, visitors without kids hit the road to take advantage of fewer crowds and reasonable pricing."
Otte Coleman also attributes North Dakota's strong fall visitation to the abundance of events statewide. "Communities across North Dakota celebrate fall with a variety of cultural and harvest-related festivals, ranging from small community-wide events to large draws like the United Tribes International Powwow and the Norsk Høstfest."
- 48th annual Potato Bowl, Grand Forks (Sept. 2-7): Created in 1965, this popular week-long event teams the University of North Dakota and the Red River Valley potato growing industry. Highlights of this annual festival include the World's Largest French Fry Feed and fireworks, Potato Bowl parade, 8-K run and Tater Tot Trot, tailgate party and University of North Dakota football game. www.potatobowl.org;
- 44th annual United Tribes International Powwow, Bismarck (Sept. 5-8): One of North Dakota's premier cultural events showcasing champion dancers from across the United States and Canada. This year's showcase dancers are the Explendor Azteca Aztec Dancers. www.unitedtribespowwow.com/;
- Medora Musical, Medora (through Sept. 7): The "Greatest Show in the West" is professionally produced and performed outdoors in the beautiful North Dakota Badlands. www.medora.com;
- Papa's Pumpkin Patch, Bismarck (Sept. 9 - Oct. 19): A fall family tradition since 1983. The pumpkin-lined paths lead kids of all ages to hours of fun. After selecting the perfect pumpkin, enjoy pony rides, Slide Mountain, a train ride, horse-drawn hay rides, nature trails, a corn maze, pumpkin cannons and so much more. Don't forget to take pictures in this scenic fall destination.
- Big Iron, Fargo (Sept. 10 - 12): The Midwest's largest Ag expo showcases the newest and best in agriculture equipment. www.bigironfarmshow.com
- Roughrider Rodeo Finals, Jamestown (Sept. 27 - 29): The best of the best compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, junior events and more.
- Norsk Høstfest, Minot (Oct. 1 - 5): North America's largest Scandinavian festival features world-class entertainment, Scandinavian craftsmen, artists, dancers and delicious delicacies. This year's entertainment lineup includes Alabama, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Kris Kristofferson, Bill Cosby, Marty Stuart, and many more. http://hostfest.com/
Outdoor recreation, college sports and scenic drives are big attractions
In addition to fall festivals and events, outdoor recreation and college sports are a strong draw to the state during the fall, noted Otte Coleman. "Many people come to North Dakota to experience our great hunting and fishing opportunities. Plus, the back-to-school season signifies the start of sports, tailgating season and homecoming games. All of these activities attract people who stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores."
With fall colors about to dot nature's canvas, scenic drives are also a popular thing to do this time of the year. "Whether on the back of a motorcycle or in a car, cruising North Dakota's scenic byways and backways is a great way to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations and admire the beauty of fall and our state."
For more information about events, attractions and activities in North Dakota, go to www.ndtourism.com, or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663.
Britton Transport moving at full speed
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Sep 02, 2013.In the trucking business, the scenery often changes for those behind the wheel. At Britton Transport, the corporate staff is enjoying a change of scenery and wide open spaces since moving into new headquarters in April.
President Dave Britton said the company's move caps off a series of exciting corporate changes in recent years.
To celebrate, Britton Transport is hosting an open house from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, with a ribbon-cutting event at 4 p.m.
"We're proud of our growth and new building and proud to be located in Grand Forks," Britton said.He hopes the community will stop by their offices at 1651 N. 48th St."See what's off the beaten path in Grand Forks," he said.
Since 1980 Britton has been beating paths, building a transportation company that today is part of one of North America's largest fleets.In 2011, Britton Transport was purchased by and became a subsidiary of Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company Bison Transport, which has more than 1,100 trucks and employs nearly 2,000.
Britton said the companies share a culture and values that have made it easy to assimilate.
Britton Transport's new $3.9 million headquarters, Britton said, is a near replica, albeit about 70 percent of the size, of Bison's Calgary terminal. The building's design, down to the grout between floor tiles, was managed by a team from Bison."We were packed like sardines in our other location," he said. "Now we have room to grow."
The terminal is a home away from home for Britton's 106 drivers, 85 of whom are based out of Grand Forks. It features a comfortable lounge and large kitchen area, open 24-7, for office staff and drivers. The design, Britton said, is intended to encourage interaction among all employees.There are shower and laundry facilities for the drivers' use."For us, nothing happens without our drivers. We encourage them to use the space. It's their home, too," Britton said.
A cross-dock for up to six trucks provides a location to move freight from one truck to another, which is used extensively for cross-border and domestic logistics.Strong growthBritton said since the acquisition by Bison Transport and moving into the new corporate office, Britton Transport's growth has quickly exceeded predictions. The company now operates a fleet of 97 trucks, up from 43 just a little over two years ago.
"It's gratifying for me to see the company grow and flourish with the same core of people," he said.Britton is sensitive to the effect the company's growth has had on his team. "Bison made it evident they are not here to get rid of people. They've been absolutely true to that," he said. "They bought us for our people. Growth is change, and change can be stressful for people. I'm proud to say we've gotten through the growth disruptions, but it has been more of a factor than I anticipated.
"There's no slow-down in Britton's sight. Within five years, he expects the Britton fleet, which includes flatbed, van, and refrigerator trucks, to grow to at least 200.
He said about 70 percent of goods nationwide are transported by truck. Flatbed hauls, which include building materials and large manufactured goods, are, he said, an especially good economic indicator.
"It's the most volatile segment of the trucking industry, but tells us what the economy is doing. I'm bullish on flatbeds for the next couple of years," he said.
Britton started his business in the basement of his house as a freight broker, finding truck capacity for shippers to move their products. Today, brokerage services comprise about 45 percent of Britton's business. It's also another area Britton expects to grow in the next few years.
Located In the heart of the Red River Valley, Britton said, his company and others enjoy the benefits of a stable, vibrant economy. And, he said while the oil boom in western North Dakota has had a positive impact to his company, it's a minimal part of their business.
"Britton Transport is a shining example of business success and economic growth in the Grand Forks region," said Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Klaus Thiessen.
"Proactive, growing logistics operations like Britton are an important piece of our infrastructure, vital to recruiting new companies."
The EDC assisted Britton Transport with its expansion and the company received support through the Grand Forks Growth Fund.
At the heart of Britton Transport's growth, Britton said, are good people. As the company continues to grow, Britton said he looks for people with ambition and values that match their company culture, even if they don't have the right experience.
"With our planned growth, there are a lot of opportunities for our people to grow as well."Cooper, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation's marketing and communications associate, regularly profiles an EDC business member or client company. The EDC provides access to resources to help primary sector business expand or develop in the Grand Forks region. Learn more at www.grandforks.org.
Commerce Awards Tribal College Grants for Workforce Development
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 22, 2013.The North Dakota Department of Commerce recently awarded workforce development grants to a variety of tribal colleges. The Legislature authorized $5 million in workforce development grants for tribally controlled community colleges. The grants support degree- or certificate-granting programs that qualify students to earn highly recruited jobs in the state. They also provide assistance to students to establish new businesses operating within North Dakota that will employ North Dakotans.
"Workforce development continues to be a major focus as we work to create more good jobs and diversify our economy," Governor Jack Dalrymple said. "Outstanding opportunities are right here in North Dakota, and providing the right education and training will continue to elevate our workforce."
The Department of Commerce administers the grants through an application process. Recipients report back to the Department on several factors including expenditures, number of students assisted, graduation rates, new or improved training or other programs leading to a certificate or degree, job placement rates, rate of students assisted who seek further educational opportunities, and the number of jobs or businesses created.
"Tribal Colleges in North Dakota continue to serve a critical role across our state in providing education and training needed to fulfill their career goals," North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. "This tribal college grant will increase the colleges' ability to prepare students for our growing statewide economy."
CANKDESKA CIKANA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced a $500,511 tribal college grant for Cankdeska Cikana Community College located on the Spirit Lake Dakota reservation in Fort Totten, ND. The grant will support Cankdeska Cikana Community College efforts to develop workforce training programs for students.
"The new and expanded collaboration between the State of North Dakota and our tribal colleges is exciting," Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College said. "The partnership will have a significant impact on the economy as well as helping us to address the serious poverty issues on the reservation. The tribal college grant program will outreach to some of most disadvantaged North Dakotans to lend a helping hand via job training and business development opportunities."
SITTING BULL COLLEGE
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced a $1 million tribal college grant for Sitting Bull College located in Fort Yates, ND. The grant will support Sitting Bull College efforts to develop workforce training programs for students.
UNITED TRIBES TECHNICAL COLLEGE
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced a $999,985 tribal college grant for United Tribes Technical College located in Bismarck. The grant will support United Tribes Technical College's efforts to develop workforce training programs for students.
"With this support, authorized by the State Legislature, we will expand our workforce training programs into the field of medical coding, an important job that is currently in high demand the regional job market," David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College President said. "By providing instruction and training in this field to Native and non-Native students, we are providing a critical need. We are grateful for the opportunity to help contribute to the infrastructure of North Dakota's economy."
TURTLE MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced a $1 million tribal college grant for Turtle Mountain Community College located in Belcourt, N.D. The grant will support Turtle Mountain Community College's efforts to develop workforce training programs for students.
"With this grant, programs at Turtle Mountain Community College will be designed and expanded to better fit the workforce training needs in North Dakota while at the same time providing a much needed boost to addressing the unemployment challenges we face on and near the reservation." Jim Davis, president of Turtle Mountain Community College said.
Dalrymple Celebrates Enbridge Rail and Pipeline Projects
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 19, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined officials from Enbridge Pipelines LLC to celebrate the completion of the energy delivery company's Berthold rail terminal, Bakken Pipeline expansion and the launching of its Sandpiper Pipeline project.
"We appreciate the major investments that Enbridge Pipeline has made in North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "These projects are important advancements in the responsible development of our energy resources. By expanding our rail and pipeline capacity we can better meet the needs of our energy production and further reduce truck traffic, dust and wear and tear on our roads."
Enbridge has expanded its Bakken Pipeline to increase shipping capacity to a total of 475,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The expansion, completed in March, increased the pipeline's capacity by 120,000 barrels per day. The Bakken Pipeline carries crude oil from western North Dakota to the Enbridge mainline near Cromer, Manitoba.
Enbridge has also invested $145 million to build a rail loading facility northwest of Berthold. Enbridge partnered with Berthold Farmers Elevator to build the terminal which is capable of shipping 80,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day. The terminal was built in two phases and completed in March. From the terminal, Enbridge ships crude oil to markets throughout the United States.
Monday's event also marked the launching of Enbridge's Sandpiper Pipeline project. Enbridge plans to build a pipeline capable of carrying 225,000 barrels of oil per day from western North Dakota to Clearbrook, Minn., and a joining pipeline that can transfer 325,000 barrels per day from Clearbrook to Superior, Wis.
Since 2008, Enbridge has invested $1.3 billion on energy service projects in the Bakken. The company has more than 145 employees in North Dakota.
Joining Dalrymple to mark the completion of the rail and pipeline projects were: Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Berthold Mayor Alan Lee and Enbridge executives Kevin Hatfield, Steve Wouri and Robert Steede.
Land Board Awards Nearly $7 Million in Initial Grant Round For Oil Patch Schools
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 19, 2013.The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $6.85 million in its first round of grants to K-12 schools impacted by rapid development in the state's oil and gas counties. The Land Board has set aside $25 million in Energy Impact Grant funds for Oil Patch schools during the 2013-2015 biennium.
The state grants awarded by the Land Board today will support 23 school districts in western North Dakota. School officials will use the funding to secure portable classrooms and affordable housing for teachers, to enhance school security systems and to address other critical needs.
"These grants will help school districts meet critical needs as they begin the new school year," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "We will continue working with school officials throughout our oil and gas counties to address the impacts of rapid growth."
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other Land Board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
Following Dalrymple's recommendation, the Legislature also changed the state's distribution formula for oil and gas gross production taxes, a move that is projected to directly provide western North Dakota school districts with about $50 million in additional revenue during the biennium. Other state support for schools includes $13.6 million for districts experiencing rapid enrollment growth, funding to help districts meet the rising costs of student transportation and a $150 million low-interest loan program to help finance construction projects.
The grants approved by the Land Board today include:
- $1.8 million for security enhancements, portable classrooms, employee housing, traffic-flow improvements and other upgrades at McKenzie Public School District #1.
- $804,000 for staff housing, portable classrooms, computer lab remodel and other upgrades within the Killdeer Public School District.
- $800,000 for teacher housing at Mandaree Public School District #36.
- $482,000 for teacher housing and security upgrade at the Divide County Public School District #1.
- $385,000 for modular classrooms at South Heart Public School District.
- $256,000 for teacher housing and security upgrades at Bowman Public School District.
- $256,000 for teacher housing at Bowbells Public School District #14.
- $281,000 for teacher housing and security enhancements at Beach Public School District #3.
- $310,000 for school security upgrades and the development of teacher housing at Tioga Public School District #15.
For a complete list of grants approved today by the Land Board go to: www.nd.gov/energyimpact
To date, the Land Board has committed $120.7 million in state Energy Impact Grant funds and will award a total of $240 million in grants during the 2013-2015 biennium. The grants are used to address a wide range of needs including enhancements for law enforcement agencies and emergency services; upgrades to county and city infrastructure and support for growing schools.
In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state's oil and gas region during the current biennium. The state commitment - more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion - includes funding for highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects and the development of affordable housing. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region's court system and funding for dust suppression projects.
Wrigley Promotes State's UAS Industry at AUVSI
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 19, 2013.Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today outlined the many advantages to establishing a national Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) test site in North Dakota while addressing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, military officials and industry leaders at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Conference in Washington, D.C.
"North Dakota is the right place at the right time for a thriving UAS industry," Lt. Gov. Wrigley said. "The combination of UND's leadership in aerospace technology, NDSU's electronics and computing capabilities, and our high-tech business partners makes our state primed with opportunities that will enhance the nation's UAS advancement."
North Dakota is vying for one of six national UAS test sites to be designated by the FAA. Test sites will lead the nation's efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft with traditional aircraft in the national airspace. State officials say a test site designation also would enhance efforts to further develop North Dakota as a national hub for UAS education, training, research and development. The FAA is expected to designate its six UAS test sites by December 31, 2013.
At the AUVSI conference, Lt. Gov. Wrigley emphasized the state's support for a test site, including Gov. Jack Dalrymple's recommendation and the Legislature's appropriation of $5 million toward development efforts. Wrigley also highlighted North Dakota's history of progress in UAS education, research and development, including the University of North Dakota being the first institution in the nation to award degrees in UAS operations. The state also is ideal for a national test site because of its climate diversity and open terrain, as well as its proven aviation and aerospace partnerships between industry, education and government, Wrigley said.
"Receiving the FAA test site designation would solidify North Dakota's position at the front line of the rapidly growing UAS industry," Wrigley said.
Gov. Dalrymple's recent executive order established the Northern Unmanned Systems Authority, a six-member commission chaired by Wrigley to advance North Dakota's UAS opportunities. The commission will also provide oversight if the state is designated to operate a UAS test site. Representatives from the state's general aviation industry, University of North Dakota Aerospace, North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, North Dakota Department of Commerce, and Office of the Adjutant General will serve on the commission.
Also attending the conference were representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. military officials, and corporations with vested interest in the industry, including Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
The AUVSI Conference brings together leaders in the UAS industry to address important issues, advancements, and opportunities in unmanned systems and robotics. The 2013 event featured more than 100 technical sessions, panels and workshops with the industry's leading experts. More than 8,000 attendees from more than 40 countries participated in the conference.
Learn more about North Dakota's UAS industry at www.NDUAS.com.
States Elbow for Piece of Drone Windfall
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 13, 2013.One job of the the test sites will be to give input into privacy issues, how the FAA should regulate commercial airspace and what the potential uses of the technology are.
For example, an unmanned system could be used in agriculture to look at crops and monitor their intake of water or pesticides. Drones could be used to help fight forest fires, do search-and-rescue missions or to anticipate water run-off from snow banks. In all of these uses, state officials said, drones would be pulling people out of harm's way.
"We've had biologists in Idaho actually die in a helicopter accident due to ups-and downdrafts," said Steven Edgar, president and CEO of ADAVSO Advanced Aviation Solutions. "[They were] doing wildlife and fisheries biology gathering. So we can use one of these and remove them from that environment, and make it much safer."
There's no doubt within the FAA or industry about the potential for commercial drone use, the Utah delegation added: "They want to do this, but obviously the FAA wants to do it in a safe way," Dornan said.
Privacy is a huge concern when approaching states' uses of drones, said Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.
"We also have a very specific role in guaranteeing the privacy of our citizens," Treadwell said. "It's up to us to say, ‘Let's protect the privacy of our citizens."
For example, one overreach of drone technology would be to equip them with weapons, giving police the ability to end a car chase, Treadwell said. But overall, unmanned systems are an expanding technology that shows major promise for state economies, he said.
A little ways down the convention floor, Idaho sought to make its name as a state friendly to unmanned systems. Idaho is relatively new to the drone industry - this was its representatives' first visit to the AUVSI conference - though private companies have been working on developing the technology in the state for longer.
In an AUVSI-produced magazine distributed at the conference Tuesday, Idaho was bright red on a map graphic, marking it as one of seven states that had passed "anti-UAS bills." But that's misinformation, the Idaho delegation declared.
"We're the second state in the U.S. to pass UAS legislation," Edgar said. "Notice that I said UAS legislation. I didn't say anti-UAS legislation … We have legislation in place that ensures the taxpayers that the technology won't be abused. It doesn't stop the use, it doesn't the development, it doesn't stop the tests."
And in the highly competitive test site selection process, the fact that Idaho has wrestled with the drone concerns at a state level may even be a selling point.
"What it does is it opens the door for us to do tests, because we've had the debate about privacy already," Edgar added. "And with that out of the way, now we can do what we want to do with the UAS growth and the development of the industry within the state."
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/states-elbow-for-piece-of-drone-windfall-95524_Page2.html#ixzz2bxq5FUiC
Site Selection in the Dakotas
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 12, 2013.The Dakotas are generally not the first area that comes to mind when considering where to develop a new data center. Technology hubs like Silicon Valley and Houston or metropolises like New York or Chicago are easier to understand as primary choices for a new data center development. However, shunning the Dakotas because they are not high-paced, high-pressure, high-cost metropolitan centers is a mistake that shows up in the bottom line.
The Dakotas offer locations where operational costs can be contained. They offer benefits of low cost power and an environment that allows for nearly free cooling for most of the year. Low operational costs are especially important to the cloud computing market, which is becoming very competitive. The business model for cloud providers has evolved to a turnkey model very similar to utility, but on a national level. Low cost providers are able to grab market share since services are selected on the basis of their cost. Data centers providing cloud services maintain their competitive advantage by building in locations that enable the providers to operate their businesses with the lowest possible total cost of operations.
Like most states, there are economic and tax incentives for moving operations into the state. Fargo, ND, and Sioux Falls, SD, are particularly aggressive in offering incentives to locate business in their areas. The region offers access to a highly skilled workforce. There is also low risk of natural disasters in the region.
One of the most compelling reasons to start a business in the region is the growing economy. A growing economy offers a multiplier effect that attracts more businesses and therefore more customers. The Dakotas have a stable but growing economy. There has been tremendous growth because of the oil boom that started back in 2008, running contrary to the global financial crisis. This is particularly true for Fargo and Sioux Falls and true for North Dakota in general. The net effect is a commensurate demand for data center services for industries that move into the Dakotas. The growth is expected to continue for the next two decades, leading to a ripe market for additional data center services.
Investors interested in finding a site for a data center development will find a lot of attractive choices in North Dakota. CNN ranked North Dakota fourth overall in its "America's Top States to do Business" report in 2012. The state ranks 30th with a moderate cost of living at 99.7% of the national average according to a report by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Low operating cost. Power and cooling are key cost drivers for a data center. The state has low cost for power at 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) according to the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Most power is coal-based, but 14.7% (1,445 megawatts [MW]) of power is from wind according to the American Wind Energy Association. That is third highest wind power generation in the country. South Dakota comes in second place by generating 23.9% of their power with wind, which almost ties with Iowa at 24.5%. Another 6% of North Dakota's electrical power is from hydroelectric sources.
The climate in North Dakota is cool. The coldest periods in January range from 0°F to 21°. The warmest is in July which ranges from 56° to 85°. The maximum average temperature in the seven months from October to April is only 58°. The ability to use cool temperatures to cool data centers for almost free provides an advantage that is unmatched in all but a few northern states.
High-speed networks. North Dakota has three 800 gigabit fiber networks that have been built in the Fargo market since 2012. The high speed networks, along with over 18 carriers, allows North Dakota to offer everything needed to support data centers, cloud computing providers, and data storage companies.
Midcontinent Communications is spending $3 million on a project called the Bakken Extension to extend a fiber network to the northwestern part of the state. The new network will "enhance the region's communication services" and "support the development of new opportunities for residents and businesses," according to Gov. Jack Dalrymple. Once complete, the multi-state fiber backbone will extend the Northern Plains Network from Minot to Williston. Midcontinent's network connects directly to major network hubs in Minneapolis, Fargo, and Sioux Falls. The 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) extension from Minot to Williston will be expandable to 4 terabits per second (Tbps). "Every community and business within a serviceable distance of our route from Minot to Williston gains from this project" said Pat McAdaragh, Midcontinent president and CEO.
Economy. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at just 3.1%. The North Dakota economy grew by 13.4% in 2012, making it the fastest growing state in the country. It grew twice as fast as Texas, which is in an honorable position in second place. North Dakota grew five times faster than the rest of the country that averaged a growth rate of 2.5%. The forecast for growth in the foreseeable future was strong even before the oil boom.
Economy and effects of the oil boom. The center of North Dakota's oil boom is Williston, which is located about 70 miles south of the Canadian border. According to Williston Economic Development, the city is the fastest growing micropolitan area in the nation.
There is no doubt that the epic oil boom in North Dakota is driving growth. However, the majority of the growth in the state is from solid organic growth in technology based companies. Microsoft has experienced significant growth in the Fargo market through their acquisition of financial software company Great Plains Software. Microsoft has almost 2,000 employees in the Fargo market and intends to double that number. Phoenix Technology is experiencing tremendous growth in the Fargo market. Amazon.com is building a major ordering facility in Grand Forks.
Skilled labor. Fargo hosts five major universities that churn out over 28,000 students per year, many with computer science and engineering backgrounds. The pipeline of new graduates provides a constant supply of reasonably priced labor.
Why North Dakota? John Unger, president of Vaultas, developed a Tier III data center campus on the North Dakota State University campus in Fargo. He evaluated criteria for many data center sites throughout the country. He chose to build in North Dakota because the low risk of natural disaster, access to skilled staff, and low cost for power and cooling.
"North Dakota is likely one of the best places to host a data center due to very low risk of natural disasters combined with some of lowest operating costs anywhere in the U.S. We have no earthquakes, no hurricanes, very low risk of serious tornadoes combined with some of the lowest electrical rates and cooler upper Midwest temperatures driving a very low total cost of operating for any enterprise or cloud computing organization," said Unger.
South Dakota has a different spin on a similar story. The state shares a border with North Dakota, but they don't share in all the same economic benefits. The oil boom had less of an effect on South Dakota than it did on North Dakota. South Dakota laid an egg in 2012 coming in 46th place in economic growth according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Much of the economic slide is attributable to a drought that drove up costs for ranchers and lead to a drop of 2% off the state GDP.
This aggregate number includes a drop in the agricultural sector that masks gains in other sectors. The cost of operations is still reasonable in South Dakota. The state was ranked third best in cost of doing business in CNBC's "Special Report of America's Top States for Business." It was also ranked first for small business survival and second for tax environment for mature firms and business tax climate in the "Enterprising States" report that the Praxis Strategy Group created for the U.S. Chamber of Congress.
The Boyd Company calculated the annual operating costs for running a hypothetical 125,000-sq-ft data center with 75 employees in 45 cities. Sioux Falls was ranked the least expensive place in the nation to open a data center when considering factors such as the mild climate and competitive costs to do business. Sioux Falls has the ninth strongest local economy in the U.S. according to POLICOM Corp's report on economic strength ratings.
Overall, South Dakota still has the second lowest unemployment in the country at 3.9%. The state ranks 26th for cost of living, putting it almost 2% lower than North Dakota.
High-speed network. The South Dakota Network (SDN) is in the middle of a $20.5 million project building 140 miles of fiber optic backbone which will supply 10 Mbps service to more than 220 existing anchor institutions with plans to add 300 more.
Climate. South and North Dakota share very similar climates. South Dakota is approximately 3° warmer than North Dakota. January temperatures in Sioux Falls average 3° to 25° in January. In July, temperatures range from a 60° to 86°. In both cases, costs can be minimized taking advantage of the free cooling opportunity.
Recent development. SDN Communications developed a data center in Sioux Falls, SD. They picked a 65-acre site near Interstates I-29 and I-90. The data center is 10,000 sq ft in Phase 1 in a building which is 25,000 sq ft. Future plans will quadruple the size of the data center. The final size will be large enough to contain two full-sized football fields.
SDN's data center / carrier hotel / colocation facility has a power density of > 200W per square foot which is fed by 2 MW of power utility feeds. The data center will employ standard resources like VESDA and clean agent fire suppression.
The total cost of operations is really what matters the most. The cost of hosting systems in data centers in different regions will vary with proximity to major cities. However, the greater commoditization of data center services and the deployment of high speed network backbones make the proximity of a data center increasingly less important than the cost of hosting in the data center.
Cloud services and colocation services are being increasingly commoditized which benefits the Dakotas since data centers in this region have low costs of operations. Both North and South Dakota are fine locations for developing new data centers because of their high speed networks, stable economies, and low costs of operation. They offer low risk from natural disasters and a supply of educated computer scientists and engineers. South Dakota's economy only seems dim when compared to the shining star of North Dakota. The economic juggernaut of North Dakota is expected to keep charging for the foreseeable future. However, the success of a growing market in North Dakota is driving up the cost of land and the cost of living which threatens to tip the scale in South Dakota's favor.
Dalrymple, Midwest AgEnergy Break Ground on Biorefinery
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 11, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined officials from Midwest AgEnergy Group to break ground on a new biorefinery that will produce ethanol, distillers grains and fuel-grade corn oil. The biorefinery, to be built in the Spiritwood Energy Park east of Jamestown, will produce 65 million gallons of ethanol annually.
"The Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery will create new market opportunities for North Dakota farmers, serve to further diversify our growing economy and help the nation become more energy independent," Dalrymple said. "In North Dakota, we have stayed true to a proven energy policy that promotes the responsible development of all our energy resources. Our work is paying off in very significant ways and this biorefinery is another example of what can be accomplished when states create an environment in which private industry can thrive."
Midwest AgEnergy Group, an upper Midwest biofuels enterprise owned by Great River Energy, will build a biorefinery capable of producing 65 million gallons of ethanol, 198,000 tons of distillers grains for livestock feed and 6,900 tons of fuel-grade corn oil for use in biodiesel.
The biorefinery will buy about 23 million bushels of corn from area farmers every year and employ about 36 workers. Midwest AgEnergy Group will invest $155 million to build the plant which is expected to be in operation in the first quarter of 2015.
The biorefinery will be built next to Great River Energy's Spiritwood Station, a power plant that will supply the biorefinery with low-cost steam to significantly reduce the plant's energy costs.
Prior to 2006, the state produced about 30 million gallons of ethanol. Since then, four companies have built ethanol plants in North Dakota that collectively produce about 400 million gallons of the renewable fuel every year.
The state assisted the project's development through project research funding, a low-interest loan, loan guarantees and tax incentives on construction and operation.
Joining Dalrymple for Midwest AgEnergy Group's groundbreaking were: Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, Great River Energy CEO and President David Saggau, Great River Energy Board member Mike Thorson, Great River Energy Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Gregory Ridderbusch, Stutsman County Commissioner Mark Klose, USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider, Jamestown Mayor Katie Anderson and Gary Riffe, president of the Jamestown-Stutsman County Development Corp.
Construction to Start on ND Ethanol Plant
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 05, 2013.Officials this week plan to start construction on an ethanol plant in southeastern North Dakota that has been in the works for two years.
A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled Friday for Minnesota-based Great River Energy's Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant at Spiritwood, The Jamestown Sun reported.
"As soon as the governor sets the shovel down the construction crews will hit the ground," project engineer Rich Garman said.
The plant will cost about $150 million to build. Production is slated to begin in January 2015. The plant will employ about 36 people and will use about 23 million bushels of corn to produce about 65 million gallons of the alternative fuel each year.
The plant is to use excess steam power from Great River Energy's Spiritwood Station. The combined heat and coal-fired power plant currently is idled due to lack of demand for electricity in Minnesota, though Garman said plans are to start it up in January 2015.
"We've already started the process of getting it ready to come online," he said.
North Dakota Summer Bucket List
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 05, 2013.Summer might be nearing an end, but there's still time to make some everlasting memories. There's no need to fly across the country or spend a ton of money because North Dakota has plenty to offer. Here are five things to add to (and check off) your summer bucket list.
From the Medora Musical to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, to the Chateau de Mores, there's a variety of things to do in Medora, N.D.
Deanne Cunningham, the group travel marketing manager at ND Tourism, visits Medora three to four times a year and said she enjoys the entire package.
"When I go, we always experience the national park," she said.
"We'll either go to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame or the Chateau de Mores, and we always see the musical," which is performed nightly through Sept. 7 at the outdoor amphitheater.
"The night sky is your ceiling, and the music comes out and that feeling you get from those people dancing, it's wonderful," Cunningham said.
Along with the musical, she suggests visiting the Petrified Forest, the Maltese cabin and all the hiking trails.
Kayak the Pembina River.
For the sport enthusiasts, the Pembina River is great place for canoeing and kayaking. The river meanders through the thick woods, which makes for a beautiful adventure.
Start at the Vang Bridge on County Road 55 in Cavalier County and canoe or kayak along the upper stretch of the river until the ND Highway 32 Bridge near Walhalla or Riverside Park in Walhalla, N.D.
The trip takes about two to four hours depending on the traveler's speed and experience. Small Class 1 rapids and quick turns provide a challenging experience, yet it's still doable for the inexperienced sportsman or woman.
Take in history at Fort Mandan.
For history buffs, Fort Mandan is the perfect North Dakota destination.
With a variety of interpretive tours, visitors can learn about the different aspects of Lewis and Clark's adventure. Visitors can take a walk along the river banks to learn about the plants and animals they discovered, or they can participate in the fur trade.
Cunningham's favorite part of Fort Mandan, though, is learning about Lewis and Clark's guide and interpreter Sakakawea.
"I'm fascinated with strong women, and I think she was one of our first strong women." Cunningham said. "It amazes me how she worked so well with the men and how they were able to get through the Dakotas."
Whether you travel by yourself, with family members or a large group, Cunningham said you should visit Fort Mandan for the educational and historical aspect of it and how it played an important role in North Dakota.
Visit the International Peace Gardens.
For those who would like to get out of the country but don't have the time or money, visiting the International Peace Gardens in Dunseith, N.D., is a good alternative.
Fred Walker, the international marketing manager at ND Tourism, said his favorite part of visiting the gardens is taking photographs of people standing with one foot in the United States and one foot in Canada, looking at the Peace Tower.
Aside from being in both countries at one time, people can enjoy the change in scenery and learn about the decisions in history that have taken us away from peace.
"This is another option for them to see something completely different," Walker said. "The hills and lakes areas, it gives you a touch of the lake feel."
The 10 Most Oil-rich States
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Aug 05, 2013.Ten states accounted for roughly 94% of all onshore U.S. reserves as of the end of 2011, with roughly a third of this in Texas alone - just over 7 billion barrels. In many of these states, the oil industry is a major part of their economies. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration's data on proved oil reserves by states, these are the most oil-rich states in the country.
These states process the vast majority of the oil refined in the U.S. each year. Of the nation's 139 operating refineries, 89 are located in these states. The national refinery capacity is roughly 16.7 million barrels per day. Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Louisiana alone have a capacity of more than 10 million barrels per day.
As might be expected, a high proportion of the jobs in these states is in the oil and gas industry, much higher than the national average of 0.5% of jobs. All but one of the most oil-rich states are in the top 15 for these types of jobs. In Wyoming, 8.5% of all jobs are in mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction.
However, these are just the actual jobs in the industry. The increase in jobs and the influx of people to these areas are also creating many more jobs in other industries to support these workers. In six of these states oil and gas accounted for more than 10% of all jobs in 2011, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. In Wyoming, it was more than 20%.
Workers in the oil and gas industry are very well paid. Nationally, the median pay in related occupations is $56,587 compared to a national median wage of $32,096. In the oil-rich states, the median pay in these positions is even higher. In Alaska, the median worker in the extraction industry earns more than $85,000.
These oil industry jobs and wages helped many of these states endure the recent recession relatively well even as the rest of the country went through severe unemployment. Because of the Bakken Shale boom in North Dakota, the state's unemployment rate was just 4% in October, 2009, when the national jobless rate was 10%. As of June, the unemployment rate in these states was below the national average rate in nine of the 10 states.
To identify the states with the most oil reserves, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed proved oil reserves data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Reserves figures are as of December 31, 2011, the most recent date for which there is available data. We also reviewed industry employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau as of 2011. We also referenced the industry's contributions to employment from PricewaterhouseCoopers' report, "The Economic Impacts of the Oil & Natural Gas Industry On The Economy In 2011." Operating refinery and daily refining capacity are as of January 1, 2013. Unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and are as of June.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 417 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 19
> 2012 population: 4,601,893
> Unemployment rate: 7.0
Louisiana, which has the 10th-most proved oil reserves in the country, has 19 refineries with the capacity to process 3,273,020 barrels per day - second only to Texas in capacity. The largest of these refineries, Exxon Mobil Corp's Baton Rouge, processes about 503,000 barrels per day and is the fourth largest oil refinery in the United States. According to Exxonmobil, The refinery is the second-largest employer in the state. The outer continental shelf offshore of Louisiana produced 422.62 million barrels in 2011, far more than either Texas or California, the only other states with offshore wells.
2011 Proved oil reserves: 423 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 2
> 2012 population: 5,187,582
> Unemployment rate: 7.0
While it has slightly more reserves than Louisiana, Colorado has much less capacity to process its oil resources. There are only two refineries in the state, and together they have the capacity to process about 103,000 barrels per day, which places Colorado 25th in the nation. Commerce City, the home of one of these refineries, boasts a fast-growing economy and increasing median incomes over the last 10 years. Of the state's workforce, roughly 6.7% of all jobs are the result of the oil and gas industry. Many of the reserves in Colorado can be found in the Denver-Julesburg basin, which has been producing oil and gas since the 1860's.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 504 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 5
> 2012 population: 2,855,287
> Unemployment rate: 4.7
Crude oil production in Utah reached a total of 26.27 million barrels in 2011, or about 72,000 barrels a day. Capacity at the state's five refineries totaled 176,000 barrels a day, so the state is a net importer to its refineries. The imported crude comes primarily from Wyoming, Colorado, and Canada. The unemployment rate in December 2011 was just 6.1%, well below the U.S. average of 8.5%. Unemployment in June 2013 reported an improvement to 4.7%. In Utah, 15,553 Utah residents are employed in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries, representing 1.2% of the entire workforce.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 660 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 6
> 2012 population: 576,412
> Unemployment rate: 4.6
Wyoming produced 150,000 barrels of oil a day in 2011. The state's refineries had the capacity to process 165,500 barrels a day. Wyoming's economy depends far more heavily on coal production, which accounted for 40% of all U.S. mined coal in 2011. The state also produced 9% of the nation's natural gas that year. Wyoming employs by far the greatest percentage of its workforce in energy extraction industries than other states on this list, and about nine times the national average. Wyoming is home to some of the largest oil and gas fields in the nation. The Pinedale and Jonah natural gas fields, for example, rank among the top 10 in the nation.
6. New Mexico
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 866 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 2
> 2012 population: 2,085,538
> Unemployment rate: 6.8
Crude oil production reached 195,000 barrels a day in New Mexico in 2011. The state's three refineries had throughput capacity of 142,900 barrels a day, but only two were operating and their total capacity was reduced to 126,600 barrels a day in 2013. The majority of the state's crude production comes from the southeast corner that overlaps the vast Permian Basin of West Texas. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, just short of 10% of all jobs in New Mexico were either directly or indirectly generated by the oil and natural gas industries.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 879 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 5
> 2012 population: 3,814,820
> Unemployment rate: 5.2
Oklahoma produced 210,000 barrels of oil a day in 2011, and the state's five operating refineries process more than twice that amount - 508,700 barrels a day. The state's major production regions have been along the Texas border, north of Dallas-Fort Worth, and further west through the Panhandle. A new shale oil play called the Mississippi Lime formation, along the Oklahoma-Kansas border, is expected to contribute even more new production in the next few years. About 16.8% of the state's jobs were generated by the energy extraction industry in 2011.
4. North Dakota
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 2,649 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 1
> 2012 population: 699,628
> Unemployment rate: 3.1
Recent developments in hydraulic-fracturing technology have given North Dakota access to the Bakken Field, an oil-rich shale rock formation in the western region of the state. According to the Energy Information Administration, the oil reserves in North Dakota increased by 46% in 2010. This spike is part of a recent energy boom and, as a result, states like North Dakota and Texas are seeing much greater demand for labor. North Dakota also reports the nation's lowest unemployment rate, which is only 3.1% as of June. Not only do there appear to be more jobs in states with plenty of oil, but news reports suggest that states like North Dakota also offer higher paying jobs. About 2.8% of North Dakota's workforce is employed in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, the sixth-highest proportion in the nation.
2011 Proved oil reserves: 3,005 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 16
> 2012 population: 38,041,430
> Unemployment rate: 8.5
In 2013, economists from the University of Southern California conducted a study on the economic impacts of developing the state's oil resources. The study found that developing oil from the soon-to-be accessible Monterey shale oil deposits in the south central part of California could add more than 512,000 to 2.8 million jobs in the state. Even though the deposit is not currently available, its size (four times as large as the Bakken field in North Dakota) and the trends seen in other states, could mean California will soon surpass Texas in oil production. As of 2011, California is third, with about 3 billion barrels of oil reserves. A smaller percentage of Californians work in the energy extraction industries than the national average, and this is the only state on this list with an unemployment rate above the national average.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 3,816 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 6
> 2012 population: 731,449
> Unemployment rate: 6.1
The nation's least-populated state contains the second-largest oil reserve, reported to be nearly 4 billion barrels in 2011. Like many other states, Alaska is preparing to benefit from technology granting access to natural gas reserves. The Alaska Department of Labor forecasts that 6,500 direct construction jobs and over 50,000 jobs in oil careers could be created if the natural gas pipeline project is allowed to continue. Roughly 11.9% of the state's workforce is employed directly or indirectly by the oil and gas extraction industry.
> 2011 Proved oil reserves: 7,014 million barrels
> Oil refineries: 27
> 2012 population: 26,059,203
> Unemployment rate: 6.5
The quantity of Texas oil reserves and oil production dominates those in other states. According to the EIA, there were 32 new field discoveries between 2010 and 2011, more than double the fields discovered in North Dakota. Recent reports indicate these discoveries are not slowing down. In February, the Eagle Ford Shale Formation, which is composed of nine geographic fields underlying much of South Texas, produced 471,258 barrels of crude every day. This represents a 74% increase in oil production from the year before, according to the Texas Railroad Commission. As of 2011, the state's 27 oil refineries produce 4,754,681 barrels of oil per day.
August Events to Do Before School Starts in North Dakota
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 30, 2013.There is still time to take in a number of events before the school bell rings. The August temps are hot, and the activities are even hotter. Here's just a sampling of things to do in North Dakota during August. To find more information about these activities, and for a complete list of events, go to NDtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.
Warm August Nights Car Show and Ribfest Carrington
See the original Batmobile and enjoy ribs by Famous Dave's and Buffalo City Rotisserie Grill. Beer gardens. Live band Johnny Green and the Greenmen. 701-650-0640 or 701-650-7235
Outdoor Feast WeekendLake Metigoshe State Park
A weekend all about making and enjoying food in the great outdoors. Grab a fork and get a taste of some unique sweets and treats. www.parkrec.nd.gov; 701-263-4651
114th Deuce of August Icelandic CelebrationMountain
Join a celebration for the entire family. The weekend event welcomes Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and also features Icelandic heritage and culture, music, food and entertainment, including the state tractor pull. www.august2nd.com; 701-993-8268
Quilters JubileeValley City
Admire more than 300 beautifully designed quilts on display in the courthouse atrium. A quilters' rummage sale will take place in the basement. www.hellovalley.com; 701-845-1891
Capital A'Fair Bismarck
Stroll the state capitol grounds at this summer art fair featuring more than 130 artisans. Music, great food, and performing groups create a festive mood. www.bismarck-art.org; 701-223-5986
Step back in time to see blacksmith and quilting demonstrations, Morse Code demonstrations and performances by Kevin Locke (American Indian Hoop Dancer and Flutist). 701-251-9145
CANDISC Bicycle TourGarrison
CANDISC is a 400-mile fully supported loop bicycle tour originating and ending at Fort Stevenson State Park. This year's route is northeast of the park to the International Peace Gardens and back. www.parkrec.nd.gov; 701-463-2345 or 800-799-4242
Chokecherry Festival Williston
Celebrate the accomplishments of youth and the chokecherry becoming North Dakota's State Fruit. This family festival features free burger feed, ice cream with chokecherry topping, a style show and entertainment. 701-774-9041
Rendezvous Arts and Heritage FestivalWalhalla
Head to Walhalla and take part in this event promoting art in our lives. It features fun activities, arts and crafts, great food and music. 701-549-3939
Fiber Arts FestivalFargo
Dozens of area fiber artists will demonstrate skills such as spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, embroidery, and lace making. www.fiberartsfest.com; 701-499-7788
28th annual Village FairRugby
Prairie Village Museum's Village Fair features live music, pioneer demonstrations, costumed villagers, kids' games, ethnic foods, an art exhibit and more. www.prairievillagemuseum.com/; 701-776-6414 or 701-776-7606
Great Tomato FestivalMinot
Annual summer gourmet picnic includes smoked pork chops by master chefs, tomato and cucumber salad, roasted tomato stuffed with rice, and more. Evening activities include live jazz music, silent auction, Menu Venue and tomato displays. www.taubemuseum.org; 701-838-4445
13-Year-Old Babe Ruth World SeriesWilliston
Cheer on youth baseball players from around the country as they compete for the 13-Year-Old Babe Ruth World Series Championship.
These are just a few of North Dakota activities and events taking place in early August. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or phone 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663
Land Board Finalizes $54 Million in Energy Impact Grants For Municipal Infrastructure Upgrades in the Oil Patch
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 25, 2013.The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today gave final approval to provide about $54 million in energy impact grants to 23 communities in the state's oil production region. The grants will support the construction of critical infrastructure upgrades during the 2014 fiscal year. The Land Board will award an additional $31 million to Oil Patch communities for more infrastructure improvements during fiscal year 2015. In all, the state will award about $240 million in energy impact grants during the 2013-2015 biennium.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member state Land Board. Other board members are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
The grants awarded by the Land Board today include:
• $7 million toward water and wastewater treatment improvement projects in Dickinson.
• $5 million for sewer improvement projects in Minot.
• $2 million to upgrade the Williston sewer plant.
• $10 million for water supply and sewer improvement projects in Watford City.
• $3 million to expand Crosby's water supply and wastewater treatment systems.
• $2 million for wastewater treatment improvements in Alexander.
• $3.8 million to extend trunk lines for water supply and wastewater treatment service in Killdeer.
For a complete list of grants awarded today by the Land Board go to http://www.nd.gov/energyimpact
Land Board Commits Nearly $1.4 Million to Support Law Enforcement Agencies in the Oil Patch
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 24, 2013.The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today committed nearly $1.4 million in state grants to support local law enforcement agencies in North Dakota's oil-production region.
The grants approved by the Land Board today will support sheriffs' offices in Divide, Dunn, McKenzie, Stark and Ward counties as well as police departments in Arnegard, Belfield and New Town. The North Dakota Attorney General's Office will provide nearly $1 million for the latest grant round and the state's Energy Impact Grant program will cover about $391,000 in grant funding. During the biennium, the Land Board will award a total of about $240 million in impact grants, including additional grants for the region's law enforcement agencies.
"The primary purpose of these initial grants is to address immediate needs that will assist in putting police officers, properly protected, on the streets and highways in oil impacted counties," said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who also serves on the Land Board. "The remainder of the law enforcement funds will be disbursed in the grant round that follows in September."
Gov. Jack Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member board. Other board members are Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.
The law enforcement grants approved by the Land Board today include funding for patrol vehicles, radios, officer safety gear and other equipment. Grants also will be used to help local law enforcement agencies cover the costs of overtime pay and to provide housing allowances. For a complete list of law enforcement grants approved today by the Land Board go to www.nd.gov/energyimpact
The grants approved by the Land Board today are part of a larger state commitment to help local law enforcement officials and other emergency responders address increased workloads created by the region's growing population and rapid development. State funding appropriated to support the region's law enforcement agencies and other emergency responders during the 2013-2015 biennium includes:
• $9.6 million for Attorney General grants to Oil Patch law enforcement agencies.
• $7 million in energy impact grants for sheriffs' departments.
• $7 million for emergency medical service providers.
• $3.5 million for fire protection districts.
• $9.6 million for critical access hospitals
In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state's oil and gas region during the 2013-2015 biennium. The state's 2013-2015 commitment - more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion - is being used to address a wide range of needs in western North Dakota, including: highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects; the development of low-to-moderate income housing and assistance for growing school districts. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region's court system and funding for dust suppression projects.
Nine Legendary Things to Do with Kids in North Dakota
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 23, 2013.It's hard to imagine a playground as large as North Dakota, until you take the kids outside to play. Instead of merry-go-rounds, there are scenic drives where they'll see wildlife of all kinds. Instead of slides and swings, there are hiking trails, peaks and streams to conquer. And rather than kids coloring at the table, take them to Yunker Farm in Fargo for some hands-on experiences. Summer is a perfect time for a different kind of learning, and for memories that will last a lifetime. For more family friendly North Dakota activities, contact North Dakota Tourism at NDTourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.
1. Fun at the Fish PondsThe look of joy on a kid's face when holding their first catch is unforgettable. Share those fishing moments with your children at Game and Fish's OWLS pond in Bismarck or at the State Fair Pond in Minot. The pond on the fairgrounds is open spring through fall. For a more traditional outing, find the nearest body of water and take the family on an adventure to remember.
2. Theodore Roosevelt National Park/MedoraLil' buckaroos fascinated with cowboy life will enjoy western North Dakota. The Badlands provide a spectacular backdrop for the frontier town of Medora, where the wild history of the West lives on. Kid-friendly activities abound from sun up to sun down. Activities range from horseback riding, buggy rides, swimming, water activities at the Family Fun Center, miniature golf and much more.
Enjoy a unique western meal at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, served with all the fixin's. Afterward, check out the nightly Medora Musical, a professionally produced musical variety show at the modern Burning Hills Amphitheatre. Kids are free Wednesdays and Sundays.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, adjacent to Medora, has great opportunities for take-your-breath-away horseback riding, hiking, biking and scenic viewing. The rugged 70,000-acre park honors Theodore Roosevelt, who ranched in the Badlands and later became President. The park offers outstanding wildlife viewing, and kids can participate in the Junior Ranger Program.
3. Children's Museum at Yunker Farm
The bright red barn is just one of the attractions at this learning museum for children in Fargo. More than 50 hands-on exhibits are designed to engage, educate, stimulate creativity and encourage interaction between children and the exhibits. From the puppet theater to the planetarium to the bee hive, children can explore their universe. Rated as one of the top 25 children's museums in the United States by Child magazine.
4. Lake time at Lake Metigoshe, near Bottineau
North Dakota boasts many lakes, but the forested, rolling hills along the U.S.-Canadian border is the perfect setting for lake time. Prime recreation and camping meets great eating and accommodations in a beautiful lakeside setting at Lake Metigoshe and nearby Bottineau. Lake Metigoshe State Park offers great summertime activities, including fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking and bike trails. Enjoy a water skiing performance by Club de Skinautique, the local ski team. And, cool off with a bite of freshly made ice cream at the local creamery, Pride Dairy.
5. Do you ‘dig' dinosaurs?Those who like getting their hands dirty can participate in a fossil dig in the Pembina Gorge near Walhalla. Dig 80-million-year-old fossils during a scientific, professionally conducted fossil excavation. Participants can spend a full day or half day at the dig, and must be age 10 or older and accompanied by an adult. Find more information at www.dmr.nd.gov/ndfossil/.
Stop by the Dakota Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson to see 10 full-scale dinosaurs, as well as complete rhinoceros and bison fossils, fossil plants, mammals and reptiles.
6. Enchanted Highway, Regent
Drive a 30-mile gallery of the world's largest metal sculptures, representing North Dakota's hunting, fishing and farming heritage. Stay at the whimsical Enchanted Castle in Regent. Formerly a 1960s-era brick school, the building now boasts a grand castle façade, a drawbridge, knights in armor and kingly décor accented with purple and gold inside. The former school gym is perfect for playtime, including shooting hoops.
7. Forts, history and heritage
Round out your family adventure in a place Lewis and Clark, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and American Indian tribes once called home - the Missouri River valley in central North Dakota. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, is rich in both military and early Native American history. Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry rode from this fort on their ill-fated expedition to the Little Big Horn. www.fortlincoln.com Just down the hill is On-A-Slant Indian Village, which was occupied by Mandan Indians between 1575 and 1781. Today, reconstructed earthlodges overlook the Heart and Missouri rivers, giving a sense of scale and lifestyle. A small museum offers a wonderful interpretive exhibit. www.ndparks.com For a fun, unique way to get to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, take the Fort Lincoln Trolley. This restored trolley car that once ran in Bismarck now offers a unique trip through the scenic Heart River bottoms to and from the park. 701-663-9018.
8. Antelope to zebras
Did you know Dakota Zoo is home to more than 600 animals, including 125 species? Or that the Red River Zoo features both exotic and endangered species? And did you know that the Chahinkapa Zoo has animals from six continents? Or, that the Roosevelt Park Zoo is home to more than 200 mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world? In addition, the zoos have Edventures (educational adventures) throughout the season.
9. Dive into a tropical paradise - right in North Dakota
Splash around and burn some energy at North Dakota's outdoor and indoor water or adventure parks. Some to hit include:
• Splasher's of the South Seas, Canad Inns, Grand Forks: This 40,000-square-foot waterpark is the state's largest indoor waterpark. It features a cannonbowl slide, activity pool, kiddy pool, slide pool, lazy river, hot tub and more.
• West River Community Center, Dickinson: Spend the afternoon with a relaxing ride down the "lazy river" or cruising your way down the two water slides. The rock climbing wall also adds the perfect adventure.
• Raging Rivers Waterpark, Mandan: Wild and wet fun await families at this outdoor water park. Relax on the lazy river; play in the kiddie pool featuring interactive play, water geysers and more, or splash down the assortment of 45-foot-high waterslides.
• Northern Air Family Fun Center, Grand Forks: OK, this one doesn't have water. But it does have tons of fun. Its 94 trampolines equal 10,000 square feet of jumping, flying, bouncing fun! Dunk a basket, start a high-flying dodgeball game or just catch some air. The Fun Center also has an inflatables section featuring slides, an obstacle course, games and more.
These are just a few things to do with kids in North Dakota. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or phone 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.
North Dakota Tourism Offers $750,000 Grant for Development of New Tourism Infrastructure
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 22, 2013.North Dakota Tourism is offering a grant to one or more new tourism attractions that can bring more visitors to North Dakota. This program is made possible by a one-time appropriation of $750,000 in funds during the 2013 North Dakota legislative session.
The 2014 Tourism Infrastructure Grant Program's purpose is to fund new tourism operations capable of attracting visitors from outside of North Dakota for at least one overnight stay. Funds can be used for building new visitor attractions, major expansions, offering a new experience and supporting services for visitors. Funds cannot be used for marketing or ongoing operating expenses.
"This grant program is an investment in North Dakota's tourism infrastructure that will not only increase our offerings of legendary experiences for our visitors, but will ultimately create new wealth by attracting more visitors who will stay longer and spend more of their money here," said Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism.
Elements that make a project a strong candidate for consideration:
• Projects that clearly demonstrate their role as a tourism and recreation attraction in their community and region, and the benefits the project will provide through maintaining or expanding this visitor attraction.
• All project funding is in place and grant funding will complete a project rather than provide "seed money" to start a project.
• The demand for the tourism-related project is clearly demonstrated through research and analysis.
• All infrastructure needs are important and each application is judged on its own merit. Projects that offer unique or in-demand experiences and have the ability to attract and retain out-of-state visitors will score higher.
The 2014 Tourism Infrastructure Grant Program is a matching grant, requiring the sponsor to provide one dollar for every one dollar of grant money being requested. Matching dollars cannot be from other State of North Dakota grants. Requirements for the matching dollars include:
• The match must be an actual money investment; in-kind services will not be considered part of the match amount.
• Money that has been put toward the project in the current and previous fiscal year may be considered as part of the hard match but must include documented verification.
• Due to the timeframe of this program, pledges will not be considered part of the cash match.
The grant-eligible portion of the project must be completed by June 1, 2015. Under certain circumstances, a project may be funded if the construction has begun, a final construction schedule has been approved, and all construction projects are signed.
More details about the grant program and applications can be found at: NDtourism.com.
Applications must be received at North Dakota Tourism by Friday, October 18, 2013. For more information or questions, contact Dean Ihla with North Tourism at 800-435-5663 or email@example.com.
Wilbur-Ellis Expanding North Dakota Locations Into Mott
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 22, 2013.Mott Mayor Troy Mosbrucker said the earthworks on the north side of town where a new, multi-million-dollar agronomy center is under construction is good news for this small farming community.
"It's a large investment. They must be planning on staying. It's nice to see," Mosbrucker said.
Wilbur-Ellis, a chemical, fertilizer and seed company based in California, bought out the former Mott Grain business and is building its own warehouse and office complex right across the gravel road.
Derek Mayer, local manager, said the company had for years sold its ag products through Mott Grain and decided to purchase the business from former owner Todd Kautzman.
The Mott location will be Wilbur-Ellises' first west of the Missouri River in North Dakota and make a substantial footprint into a key crop-producing region.
Mayer said the company is building a 6,000-square-foot warehouse and more than doubling fertilizer plant capacity at 2,900 tons.
Meanwhile, Wilbur-Ellis is doing business out of the Mott Grain location, but will move into its new buildings when they are complete late this year.
The company will spend more than $2 million on the agronomy center.
"We're here to stay," Mayer said.
Besides fertilizer and crop protection products, the company has an aerial spraying service and provides soil testing, Mayer said.
Mayer said the company is represented by local employees working with local growers.
"It's about relationships," he said.
Randy Haugeburg, company area manager based in Minot, said the Mott location is a good fit for Wilbur-Ellis.
"It's a solid agricultural area that we know and feel comfortable in," he said.
While the company business name will be new to Mott, Haugeburg said it's been around North Dakota for three decades, with locations Minot, Walhalla, Lisbon and Wahpeton and its product lines in other ag stores.
Mosbrucker said Mott's seen several substantial improvements over the past five years, including construction by Mott Equity of a new agronomy center and c-store. He said a metal-works manufacturing company also is expanding from a building in Mott's center out to the Highways 8 and 21 intersection.
Louisiana Men Bring Mobile Motel to ND Oil Patch
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 21, 2013.A father and son from Louisiana have teamed up and brought their mobile motel - along with some Cajun cuisine - to the North Dakota oil patch.
The lodge houses 150 oilfield workers and is meant to provide a hotel-like atmosphere, offering larger rooms and more privacy than the typical man camps, which usually require residents to have roommates or share bathrooms.
Ricky Comardelle, who has provided living quarters for Gulf of Mexico oil workers for 25 years, and his 23-year-old son Dex formed the company known as Go-Motel. The company is developing a design of portable hotel rooms and plan to expand in other areas of the country
"We're trying to change what people think of when they hear of workforce accommodations," said Dex Comardelle, who's been working in North Dakota for more than a year.
The younger Comardelle told The Forum newspaper (http://bit.ly/14urTVo ) that tasty food is a priority at the lodge. Cajun night is a big hit with workers from the South, he said.
"They get a little taste of home," Comardelle said. "We would like to make this as close to home as possible for them."
Comardelle was working toward a degree in hospitality management at the University of Louisiana when he heard about the oil boom.
"North Dakota was my first real big job," Comardelle said. "I love it. I love this industry. It's something I have a passion for. I'm happy that North Dakota could be the place I get my start."
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/21/3512768/louisiana-men-bring-mobile-motel.html#storylink=cpy
APUC Awarded Funding Requests Totaling $376,490
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 18, 2013.The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) awarded funding requests for seven projects totaling $376,490 at its quarterly meeting held July 18th at the Rough Rider Hotel and Conference in Medora.
APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
The following requests were awarded:
BisMan Community Food Cooperative, Mandan, was awarded $30,000 to assist in the costs associated to hire a consultant to develop a business plan, marketing plan, site selection analysis, store design and layout and a revised pro forma based on a specific retail location.
Northern Food Grade Soybean Association, Casselton, will receive funding of $35,000 to defray the costs associated with soybean grower education and outreach through radio, print, digital advertising, social media outposts, website, video production, trade show booths and media tour.
Prairie Roots Food Cooperative, Fargo, was $30,000 to defray the costs associated to the production of marketing materials, promotional events and consulting fees for marketing of Prairie Roots Food Co-op.
Renuvix, LLC, Fargo, will receive funding of $91,000 to defray the costs related to obtaining market information and customer contacts for product sampling. This information will be used to accelerate the process of market and customer discovery of a bio-based resin and polymer technology.
Ultra Green Packaging, Inc., Devils Lake, was awarded $74,880 to defray the costs to attend trade shows, booth graphics, website re-design, design cost of brochures, catalogs and sell sheets and product samples.
United Pulse Trading Inc., Bismarck, will receive funding of $90,610 to defray the costs associated with travel to trade show and expenses used to promote pulse based ingredients. Expansion of United Pulse Trading Inc. will include products produced to target global food companies as a gluten-free and healthy food additive.
WCCO Belting, Inc., Wahpeton, was awarded $25,000 to assist in examining new rubber compound formulations for belting applications that utilize soybean or agricultural oils as a substitute for aromatic (petroleum-based) oil. Funds will be used to defray testing and development costs of newly formulated rubber compounds using soy or other bio-oils in place of aromatic oils. At least two field trials will be required for the testing of various compounds to evaluate characteristics for wear, abrasion and UV resistance.
The next APUC board hearing will be held November 21st in Harvey. Applications for the November meeting must be received by October 1. Prototype and Technical Assistance grants must be received by September 1st.
APUC is an office within Economic Development and Finance, a division of the North Dakota Department of Commerce. For additional information, please visit www.NDAPUC.com.
Development Fund a Valuable Tool for ND Businesses
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 16, 2013.The North Dakota Development Fund is a valuable financing tool for North Dakota businesses, providing a strong return on investment for taxpayers and contributing significantly to job creation. As we continue to grow our economy in the state and create economic opportunities for our citizens, it is important that financing support is available for startup or expansion projects in North Dakota.
The North Dakota Development Fund was created through legislation in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses.
The Development Fund makes investments of up to $300,000 in primary sector businesses. The North Dakota Development Fund Board may adjust the limit when deemed appropriate.
In general, the following criteria apply to Development Fund investments:
• The entrepreneur must have a realistic financial commitment at stake. Usually principals are required to have a minimum of 15 percent equity in the project.
• Refinancing of debt is not eligible.
• Principal shareholders with 20 percent or greater ownership are generally required to guarantee the debt. Other shareholders may also be required to guarantee.
• The Development Fund will not participate in more than 50 percent of a project's capitalization needs.
• Financing is available to any primary sector business project with the exception of production agriculture.
• Primary sector includes individuals and businesses which, through the employment of knowledge or labor, add value to a product, process or service which results in the creation of new wealth. Primary sector includes tourism and specific types of investor-owned agriculture, and is typically businesses such as manufacturers, food processors or export service companies. Investor-owned agriculture includes livestock feeding or milking operations, or other value-added agriculture located apart from an individual farm operation that is professionally managed and has employees.
Since the launch of the Development Fund, it has invested $97 million in 519 companies with over $30.8 million invested in rural communities. The investments made by the Development Fund have contributed to the projected creation of 10,389 primary sector jobs.
Economic activity continues to be strong in North Dakota. In providing flexible financing, the Development Fund will continue to assist primary sector businesses start-up or expand, which will help to create additional jobs and new revenues for the state of North Dakota.
Loan and equity programs managed by the North Dakota Development Fund include:
• North Dakota Development Fund
• Regional Rural Revolving Loan Fund
• Rural Incentive Growth Loan Program
• Small Business Technology Program
• Child Care Loan Program
• New Venture Capital Program
• Entrepreneur Loan Program
• Entrepreneurial Center Loan Program
APUC to Review Funding Requests Totaling $567,125
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 15, 2013.The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for ten projects totaling $567,125 at its quarterly meeting set for July 18th at the Rough Rider Hotel and Conference in Medora.
APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.
The following requests will be reviewed:
Alliance Ag Cooperative, Hettinger, is requesting $98,800 to defray the costs to complete a comprehensive feasibility study and update their marketing and business plans. These will include sustainability and outreach plans for the Alli the Cow Safety Program to educate the public about safety for children. Contact Scott Smith at 701-567-4344 Ext 5 for additional information.
BisMan Community Food Cooperative, Mandan, is requesting $30,000 to assist in the costs to hire a consultant to develop a business plan, marketing plan, site selection analysis, store design and layout and a revised pro forma based on a specific retail location. Contact Angie Oberg at 701-390-4431 for additional information.
Northern Food Grade Soybean Association, Casselton, is requesting $35,000 to defray the costs associated with soybean grower education and outreach through radio, print, digital advertising, social media outposts, website, video production, trade show booths and media tour. Contact Bob Sinner at 701-347-4900 for additional information.
Prairie Roots Food Cooperative, Fargo, is requesting $30,000 to assist in costs associated to production of marketing materials, promotional events and consulting fees for marketing of Prairie Roots Food Co-op. Contact Tim Mathern at 701-476-7825 for additional information.
Red River Regional Council, Grafton, is requesting $42,000 to assist with a study of custom multi-species plant development in an effort to produce product that will be provided wholesale and retail. Funds will also be utilized for legal work, plant design and business plan development. Contact Julius Wangler at 701-352-3550 for additional information.
Renuvix, LLC, Fargo, is requesting $125,800 to defray the costs associated for obtaining market information and customer contacts for product sampling. This information will be used to accelerate the process of market and customer discovery of a bio-based resin and polymer technology. Contact Dean Webster at 701-371-8670 for additional information.
Signature Soy, LLC, Wahpeton, is requesting $15,035 to defray the costs associated with startup expenses for legal and accounting services, fiscal agent fee, advertising, website development, fees to enroll in non-GMO Project and travel expenses for industry trade shows. Contact Tessa Mohs at 701-640-4425 for additional information.
Ultra Green Packaging, Inc., Devils Lake, is requesting $74,880 to defray the costs to attend trade shows, booth graphics, website re-design, design cost of brochures, catalogs and sell sheets and product samples. Contact Katie Bradley at 763-746-3346 for additional information.
United Pulse Trading Inc., Bismarck, is requesting $90,610 to defray the costs associated with travel to trade show and expenses used to promote pulse based ingredients. Expansion of United Pulse Trading Inc. will include products produced to target global food companies as a gluten free and healthy food additive. Contact Eric Bartsch at 701-751-1623 for additional information.
WCCO Belting, Inc., Wahpeton, is requesting $25,000 to assist in examining new rubber compound formulations for belting applications that utilize soybean or agricultural oils as a substitute for aromatic (petroleum-based) oil. Funds will be used to defray testing and development costs of newly formulated rubber compounds using soy or other bio-oils in place of aromatic oils. At least two field trials will be required for the testing of various compounds to evaluate characteristics for wear, abrasion and UV resistance. Contact Thomas Shorma at 701-642-8787 for additional information.
Dalrymple Names Rory Nelson to Serve as Energy Impact Coordinator
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 15, 2013.Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced that Rory Nelson will serve as western North Dakota's energy impact coordinator. Nelson, a Williston resident, will work in the state's oil and gas region to help meet the challenges that come with rapid development. Nelson's new job is effective immediately. He replaces Wayne Biberdorf who is retiring.
"Rory's extensive experience in the petroleum industry and his lifelong roots in the Williston Basin will be a great asset as we continue our work with local officials to address the impacts associated with rapid growth in our oil and gas counties," Dalrymple said.
"Having a state representative in the region who is dedicated solely to helping address these impacts has proven to be very helpful," Dalrymple said. "We are grateful for Wayne Biberdorf's dedicated service to the region and I know that Rory will also bring to the job valuable expertise, dedication and strong ties to western North Dakota."
Nelson grew up ranching and farming on the north bank of the Missouri River near Bainville, Mont., about nine miles west of the North Dakota border. After earning a degree in petroleum engineering at Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, he returned to the Williston Basin where he worked for Hess Corporation for 30 years. At Hess, Nelson held engineering and management positions until he retired in November 2012. Rory and his wife, Lisa, have lived in Williston for more than 30 years.
"I've spent 50 years in the Williston Basin and I have a good understanding of the challenges in the area," Nelson said. "I want to do everything I can to help."
The state's energy impact coordinator maintains an office at Williston State College.
Deadline Nearing for 2014 Tourism Grant Programs
From ND Department Of Commerce - News. Published on Jul 15, 2013.North Dakota's tourism entities have until August 30 to apply for marketing and event match grants from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Tourism Division.
North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman says these grants are important to not only the tourism industry partners who receive the funds, but to the state's tourism industry as a whole, "These funds allow tourism entities to promote an event or develop marketing materials."
Events and Marketing Grant Programs
North Dakota Tourism directly sponsors two grants programs that provide a maximum of $5,000 in matching funds for promotion of regional events and for specific tourism marketing plans.
The Events Grant Program provides funds to communities and event promoters wanting to regionally promote their 2014 tourism-related event. Qualifications include:
Must be two or more days in length.
Must be an annual event (no centennial celebrations, etc.).
Must be a unique event (e.g., no Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc., celebrations).
Must have visitor appeal and growth potential.
The Marketing Grant Program provides funds to develop marketing materials to promote an experience, activity or place unique to the North Dakota. Qualifications include:
At least 75 percent of marketing activities resulting from the grant must be promotional, focused on providing travel information.
Communication must focus on illustrating unique North Dakota experiences in support of the state's tourism branding, "North Dakota Legendary," to maximize brand equity.
Must demonstrate partnerships and regional collaboration in the promotional effort. Applications that package or cross-sell tourism experiences, education vacations and new technology-based marketing programs will be scored higher.
Applications for both the Events and Marketing Grant Programs must be received by August 30, 2013. Recipients of approved grants will receive 25 percent of the grant money within 90 days. The remaining 75 percent will be paid following the event or completed marketing project.
Grant applications are available at http://www.ndtourism.com/industry/north-dakota-tourism-grants.
For more information on tourism grants, contact Dean Ihla with North Dakota Tourism at 701-328-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.