August 24, 2016

Leaders Gather in Grand Forks for 2016 UAS Summit and Expo

footer_details North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today addressed leaders in government, aviation, business and military at the 2016 UAS Summit and Expo in Grand Forks.

“Growing and diversifying the UAS industry in North Dakota remains a top priority for our leaders in government, aviation and business, and those efforts have already produced significant results and exciting opportunities for our state,” Wrigley said. “This summit serves as a valuable forum for showcasing the strengths and successes of our UAS industry while allowing us to chart a course for future growth by drawing on the vision and innovative ideas of industry experts in North Dakota.”

This year, the summit will feature presentations, tours and insight on commercial UAV manufacturing and distribution, UAS technology offerings, regulatory updates, business case models, commercial uses, payload offerings and other topics impacting the commercial UAS industry.

In May 2013, Governor Jack Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, chaired by Wrigley, to pursue a national UAS test site designation and to develop a test site that meets Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification. In December 2013, the FAA selected North Dakota to operate one of only six national UAS test sites. In April 2014, North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the task of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.

North Dakota has invested more than $36 million to develop the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, the Grand Sky UAS Business Park, and to position North Dakota as a national hub for the UAS industry. North Dakota’s test site and other UAS offerings are attracting worldwide business, including major investments by aviation and aerospace giants Northrop Grumman and General Atomics.

Congressman Kevin Cramer praised the partnership between the State of North Dakota and Elbit Systems of America to advance the potential for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in commercial applications.

Congressman Kevin Cramer and Elbit Systems of America President and CEO Raanan Horowitz were among the speakers at today's Hillsboro Airport UAS Field Day. - Cramer's Office

Congressman Kevin Cramer and Elbit Systems of America President and CEO Raanan Horowitz were among the speakers at today’s Hillsboro Airport UAS Field Day. – Cramer’s Office

Cramer gave remarks at the Hillsboro Airport UAS Field Day today highlighting the research underway to use unmanned aircraft to collect digital images of the region’s cropland. The project is a partnership between North Dakota State University and Elbit Systems of America, the American branch of the electronics company based in Israel. Elbit manufactures the Hermes and Skylark UAS aircraft, and its President and CEO Raanan Horowitz spoke about the success of the project and its potential.

“I am pleased Elbit has chosen to partner with North Dakota on this data collection project that will advance UAS use in agriculture applications. As a longtime leader in agriculture and now an emerging international leader in UAS development, North Dakota is an ideal place to conduct these studies. Bringing global partnerships to the breadbasket of the world in the Red River Valley has the potential to find the solutions to feed a hungry world.”

Laura McCarten, regional president of Xcel Energy, spoke about another UAS research project underway this summer at the Hillsboro Airport. Xcel has partnered with the University of North Dakota to research UAS applications for utility infrastructure monitoring.

“While defense contracting and weapons systems are among the emerging fields in UAS development, agriculture crop management and utility infrastructure are other promising commercial applications,” Cramer said.

The Hillsboro Airport UAS Field Day was held in conjunction with the UAS Summit.

Sources: Office of Jack Dalrymple and Office of Kevin Cramer



Lawmakers Question Big Ag Mergers

Some lawmakers and farm groups are concerned about a long-range threat to U.S. agriculture —- as China—among the world’s top buyers of ag commodities — buys up more of the technology that has helped make the U.S. the largest producer of corn, soybeans, beef and chicken meat — around the globe.

Syngenta and ChemChina



Rabobank Report Calls For Land Rent Values To Decline – AUDIO

A report this week by Rabobank provides a stark outlook regarding land rent values in agriculture in the Midwest. The report says land rent values must decline for U.S. agriculture commodity production to remain economically viable.

Sterling Liddell is a senior analyst for Rabobank and the author of the report. He says agriculture has gone through what most analysts would call a “super-cycle.” Starting in 2006, commodity prices dramatically began to increase, and inputs, including the cost of land, have followed…

Land Rent Values 1

Moving forward, Liddell says acreage must decrease in key crops to correct the long-term demand balance…

Land Rent Values 2

When it comes to land rent values, while each case is different, Liddell explains the drop in value that needs to occur…

Land Rent Values 3

He recommends that landowners need to understand the economics of farming and what the impact can be on the value of land assets. For farmers, he says they should evaluate their position…

Land Rent Value 4

Liddell is the author of Rabobank’s report: “The Land Value Wave Dips: Land Values Set to Decline Further, Despite Sticky Rental Prices.”