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About

A father and his son looking at cattle in a pasture.

Many small, rural communities in North Dakota are challenged by declining investment and an out-migration of young households. To support economic development and curb rural de-population, Strengthen ND has designed a project named Farm Your Future ND. Farm Your Future ND is a model to repopulate and expand economic opportunity for rural North Dakota by building the local food and micro-farm sectors. Farm Your Future ND utilizes one of North Dakota’s most ample resources, abandoned or idle farmsteads, by making them available for aspiring small farm producers with a support system.

By repopulating abandoned farmsteads and mentoring new and aspiring farmers, economic development will be spurred in rural North Dakota, both locally and at the state level, as the farmers purchase fuel, groceries, farm equipment, fertilizer, seed and other necessary goods. Additionally, as a result of repopulated farmsteads, a broader base of individuals will be available to serve as a workforce, become small business owners and entrepreneurs and increase populations in rural school districts.

With the support of dollars from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Strengthen ND has completed three specific strategies, including:

Advisory Committee

Assemble a local advisory committee comprised of stakeholders from across the region to support successful project implementation. It is anticipated that the advisory committee will convene at least six times throughout the length of the project to provide insight, connections and potential resources. In addition to primary advisory committee members, several partner agencies will be engaged with representatives from each county commission, USDA-Rural Development, local agriculture lenders and other local leaders targeted.

Inventory & Assessment of Farmsteads

Create an inventory and complete an assessment of flooded and vacant/idle farmsteads in Renville, Bottineau, McHenry, Rolette, Pierce, Towner, Benson and Cavalier counties and the Spirit Lake Nation and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservations that share their borders. The assessment of each flooded and abandoned farmstead will consist of evaluating their available resources, including water and road access, proximity to a community, type of growing conditions present and other applicable items.

Localized Assessments

Create a localized assessment of the barriers to farming and resources available for Native American, New American and other potential farmers in north central North Dakota.

Strengthen ND is already working with communities and groups to build and strengthen the future of food in ND by laying the foundation for local food projects that provide healthy food and economic opportunities through the expansion of Farm Your Future ND. Listed below are three objectives currently being undertaken throughout ND.

Based upon Strengthen ND’s past and current work, future goals and objectives have been created to guide the implementation and success of Farm Your Future ND.

Goal 1: Through Phase 3 of Farm Your Future ND, Strengthen ND will elevate, expand, and better connect North Dakota’s small farm and rural community ecosystems.

Objective 1: Develop programmatic and informational resources for both rural communities and emerging small farmers.

Objective 2: Engage in systems change and programmatic adjustments to remove barriers to entry for new farmers.

Objective 3: Catalyze opportunities that increase the viability of small scale farming.

Objective 4: Increase the viability of rural communities to support small farming.