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NDSU gets half of needed funds for hemp research security facility

North Dakota State University needs to find another sponsor before it can build a security facility to proceed with its hemp seed research.

Half of the funding requested for the security system was approved May 14 at the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) quarterly meeting in Bismarck, N.D.

NDSU asked for $80,000 and received $40,000 from the commission.

Earlier, D.C. Coston, vice-president for Agriculture and University Extension at NDSU, estimated the cost of the facility at around $80,000 to $90,000 to meet the Drug Enforcement Administration requirements.

John Schneider, executive director of APUC, said the commission felt the other half should be raised as a matching grant.

This is the third time NDSU has requested funds to build a security facility to begin hemp research. It was fully approved in 2003, but NDSU continued to request extensions because it had not received a memorandum of understanding from DEA, Schneider said.

“We don’t want funds out there not being used when other projects could be using them,” he said. Finally, the funds were returned.

NDSU again requested funds last year but didn’t have the memorandum in place so it was turned down by the commission, Schneider said.

“There still was no guarantee,” he said. “But the university did have the DEA memorandum now so the commission was willing to go ahead and fund half the project, with the understanding that the other half would come from matching funds.”

APUC is a N.D. Department of Commerce agricultural grant program funded through the state Legislature’s general fund and a 1 cent off-road gas tax refund. Schneider said the 1 cent refund comes from farmers who request a refund from the off-road fuel tax.

“They have to request the refund first. Then a certain percentage of that refund goes to fund various programs including APUC,” Schneider said.

He said this quarter’s APUC meeting was “overall, a good one.” The commission had some difficult funding decisions this quarter, particularly since it is the end of the budget year, he said.

Projects are funded based on which ones are good investments and are the best value-added projects using agriculture commodities, he said.

The majority of the projects received at least some of the funds, including:

– Light Line Inc. of Regent received about $23,000 to refine comminuted (fresh) onions. Gary Greff, the creator, said the onions stay fresh in the refrigerator for weeks and can be taken out and spooned right on hamburgers or used in other places just like freshly-cut onions.

– Red Barn & Berry Farm LLC. of Fargo received $10,500 for marketing the “u-pick” raspberries.

– Prairie Wind Dairy of Edgeley received $76,000 for the development and operation of a large scale dairy. Prairie Wind said the project will generate about 100 new jobs.

– Heimbuch Potatoes of Cogswel received about $27,950 to help with the salaries of marketing consultants for its new start-up company potato packing shed.

– Flax USA of Goodrich received $35,000 to market their flax products with a new line in a new direction. One product line it is developing is flax products for dogs and horses to increase their health and help cope with skin allergies.

-Buckets of Wheat of Sawyer received $31,000 to market its high protein wheat directly from the farm in five-gallon, food-safe, long-lasting buckets.

-Dakota Pride Coop, Jamestown was awarded $10,500 to market whole grain doughnuts using HWSW. This is a combined effort of Dakota Pride Cooperative, Fetting’s Frozen Products and North Dakota Mill & Elevator.  

The next applications for APUC funds must be in to the Department of Commerce by July 1 for consideration in the next round of funding.

By SUE ROESLER, Farm & Ranch Guide

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