According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 26,000 farms and ranches occupy 39.3 million acres of land in North Dakota, 89% of the total land in the state. In a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on 2020 production, North Dakota was named the leading state in the production of 12 different crops.
The North Dakota State University North Central Research Extension Center, located one mile south of Minot, assists North Dakota’s agricultural economy through its study of agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production. Research continues in spite of harsh winter conditions in the center’s greenhouse. The greenhouse consists of three 20- by 30-foot bays that are kept at a comfortable temperature for plants to grow.
During the winter months, researchers use one bay for weed resistance testing, one for pulse crops — chickpeas, peas, and lentils — and one to grow out crops and weeds to take to meetings for identification or other tests and research ideas. The center’s seed lines, such as its yellow pea ND Dawn, are developed through lengthy processes of repeated cross-breeding, research, and testing.
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