First Dakota National Bank donates $500,000 to precision agriculture project


First Dakota National Bank’s Larry Ness, Don Marshall and Nate Franzen.

First Dakota National Bank has pledged a $500,000 donation to support the construction of a precision agriculture facility at South Dakota State University. The donation will help support students who are pursuing the first four-year precision agriculture degree offered by a land-grant university in the U.S.

“Today’s technology is increasing the speed of change on the farm and ranch. Producers who don’t embrace that change will get left behind. SDSU’s precision ag project will be critical to keeping our farmers and ranchers competitive. First Dakota is proud to make this investment in the future of the ag industry and our clients,” said Nate Franzen, First Dakota National Bank ag division president.

Precision agriculture integrates sophisticated technology and actionable data into management practices. As farmers and ranchers strive to efficiently feed a growing population, the demand continues to rise for agricultural technology that helps maintain environmental stewardship and allows producers to optimize inputs and improve profitability on each acre.

“Agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry. First Dakota is heavily invested and committed to this industry. We are excited to help SDSU continue its vision to stay on the cutting edge of advancing the region’s agricultural interests,” said Larry Ness, CEO and chairman of the board of First Dakota National Bank.

SDSU’s bachelor’s degree and minor in precision agriculture combines collaborative efforts encompassing the departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science, and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering. Students are learning about cutting-edge developments at the rapidly evolving intersection of agronomics, high-speed sensor technology, data management and advanced machinery development. The First Dakota National Bank donation will help students learn in facilities that prepare them for lifelong careers supporting economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

“SDSU is extremely grateful to First Dakota National Bank for its contribution to the precision ag project,” says Don Marshall, Interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. “We share a vision of the value of precision technology for efficient agricultural production and its importance in educating tomorrow’s ag-related workforce.“