Grand Farm: 2020 Summer Program Recap

summer program recap
This summer, nine partners conducted 40 projects on the Grand Farm. These projects were in augmented reality mapping, soil health monitoring, unmanned aerial systems, unmanned ground systems, autonomous vehicles, sensing and identification of plants, and precision spraying.

This summer, Grand Farm went from a vision to a fully fleshed out idea. From June to October, Grand Farm hosted 20 different programs and safely had 750+ people attend our programs. To celebrate a successful season, we wanted to recap the season and the work that occurred at Grand Farm. 

• 20+ programs
• 750+ people
• 90+ speakers

Types of events
This year, we hosted three different types of events at Grand Farm.

Grand Farm Field Days
• Mission: Highlight the work being done on Grand Farm test site and discuss the mission of Grand Farm.
• Audience: Grand Farm partners and those interested in Grand Farm mission.

Grand Farm Innovation Days
• Mission: Connect policymakers with industry, grow the innovation ecosystem and make the Red River Valley an innovation hub.
• Audience: Ag-tech companies, policymakers, and growers

Grand Farm Growers’ Roundtables
• Mission: Identify pain points facing growers and the ag industry.
• Audience: Growers and ag industry leaders

Grand Farm Recap: 2020 Summer Program

Growers Roundtable on Crop & Soil Management and Data Visualization

summer program recap

Growers are at the center of Grand Farm. That’s why throughout the summer, we hosted Growers Roundtables so that we can gather industry and farmers together to discuss the real-world problems they’re facing. CHS and other industry leaders came together to discuss pain points around crop and soil management and data visualization. (To read all the pain points identified at Grand Farm Growers Roundtables, check out the September/October issue of Future Farmer Magazine.)

Grand Farm Innovation Day: Information Systems

The Red River Valley has been an innovation leader in agriculture for more than a century. Grand Farm hopes to capitalize and continue that strength as a leader by bringing people together to discuss innovation and drive change. At one of our biggest events of the year, nine leaders in information systems came together to discuss how the staggering amount of data in agriculture is collected and processed in order to make wiser farming decisions.

“We were honored to be asked to speak at Grand Farm’s Innovation Day on Information Systems,” said Matt Chaussee, Founder of Be More Colorful. “The nature of our business requires us to make personal connections with other business leaders and Grand Farm provided an amazing opportunity to do just that. We never expect to come out of a talk with a new client, but in this case, that’s exactly what happened! A huge thank you to Emerging Prairie and the Grand Farm team for continuing to grow and expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”


summer program recap
  • Lanny Faleide – Satshot
  • Eric Berg – NDSU Animal Science
  • Peter Schott – Genesis Feed Technologies
  • Reed Lawrence – Pro Power Ag
  • Russ Schell – RJ Energy Solutions
  • Brian Larry – Connect Labs
  • Matt Chaussee – Be More Colorful
  • Ed Schwind – Signum Summer Recap


  •  Brian Kuehl – CHS
  • Joe Heilman – Intelligent Ag
  • GK Tech Inc – Kelly Sharpe
  • Levi Otis – Ellingson
  • Anastasia Volkova – FluroSat
  • Jean Henning- ND Corn Council
  • Mitchell Hora – Continuum Ag
  • Nancy Shemwell and Venky Swaminathan – Trilogy Networks
  • Ben Munson – Farm QA/ Amity Technology

Grand Farm Innovation Day: Crop and Soil Management and Plug and Play’s AgTech Expo – North Dakota

It was identified early on in the creation of Grand Farm that in order for our region to become an agtech leader, the entrepreneurs and innovators needed better access to capital. That’s why Grand Farm played a part in recruiting Plug and Play to open their AgTech division in Fargo. To celebrate the completion of the first cohort of 14 startups, Plug and Play’s AgTech Expo was held in-person at Grand Farm and streamed virtually to hundreds of people around the globe. We celebrated the work these entrepreneurs are doing to drive agriculture forward. After the Expo, Grand Farm hosted our Innovation Day on Crop and Soil Management to highlight those leading innovations in our region.

1 Million Cups at Grand Farm and Trilogy Networks Press Conference

Economic development is going to be a big piece of Grand Farm and this was evident on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Venky Swaminathan, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Trilogy Networks, spoke at 1 Million Cups at Grand Farm and afterward held a press conference to announce a project to bring distributed cloud computing technology to North Dakota. Trilogy and North Dakota State University will utilize a combination of distributed cloud computing and traditional cloud computing to implement a computervision, deep-learning algorithm to perform tasks that are currently being accomplished using off-site computing and on-board computing. This algorithm will identify weeds for removal using computer vision and enable targeted herbicide usage–increasing crop quality and reducing environmental impact.

summer program recap
NDDOT’s first autonomous vehicle will be used in the workplace to enhance safety by removing workers from hazadous areas and using the driverless vehicle in its stead.
summer program recap
NDDOT’s first autonomous vehicle will be used in the workplace to enhance safety by removing workers from hazadous areas and using the driverless vehicle in its stead.

Grand Farm Innovation Days: Autonomous Systems Policy

Innovation hit the streets on Thursday, Oct. 8 as ND Dept. of Transportation unveiled the first autonomous truck at Grand Farm. The truck is an autonomous truck-mounted attenuator and is meant to enhance safety and protect DOT workers’ lives. The truck drives behind construction crews providing a barrier for the crew so if a rogue vehicle hits the truck, they will be protected. Senator John Hoeven took the first ride in the passenger seat as the truck drove autonomously from Grand Farm.

After the demonstration, Grand Farm hosted an Innovation Day on Autonomous Systems Policy with the mission of connecting the autonomous industry and policymakers in order to make North Dakota the most autonomous-friendly event. Panels were held on public policy, research being done in higher education and the work happening in the autonomous industry as discussions were held on how North Dakota can capitalize on the potential of autonomous vehicles.

Speakers included Policy Panel

  • Senator John Hoeven
  • Nick Flom – Northern Plains UAS Test Site
  • Cindy Schreiber-Beck – ND House of Representatives
  • Bill Panos – Department of Transportation
  • Joel Paulsen – FM Diversion

Industry Panel

  • Mayor Mahoney – City of Fargo
  • Joel Honeyman – Bobcat
  • Tommy Kenville – iSight
  • Terri Zimmerman – Botlink
  • Maynard Factor – Kratos Defense

Research Panel

  • Mark Haggerott – Chancellor
  • Mark Askelson – UND
  • Jane Schuh – NDSU
  • Frank Casey – NDSU Sum
  • John Mihelich – UND

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