ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, US — CHS Inc. is teaming up with the Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative to further agricultural innovation.

The cooperative will not only participate by operating crop production tests plots at the innovation site but also contribute financially.

The 130-acre Grand Farm Innovation site, located in Horace, North Dakota, US, features demonstration fields and research plots that eventually will surround an innovation center and collaboration spaces for agricultural startups and entrepreneurs.

CHS involvement with Grand Farm began in early 2020, in conjunction with becoming a founding partner in Plug and Play Fargo, which supports ag tech startups and helps attract them to the region. Other Plug and Play founding partners include Bremer Bank, Microsoft Corp. and The OCP Group.

“Collaboration is at the center of what Grand Farm is about, bringing together startup entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies including CHS, university researchers and farmers,” said David Black, enterprise strategy and chief information officer for CHS. “Working together will help accelerate technological innovation on the farm, the cooperative system and throughout agriculture.”

Grand Farm will provide spaces and opportunities for agricultural technology companies and researchers to test ideas and find solutions for existing or emerging farm and ag industry challenges.

“CHS brings an on-farm perspective to the innovation process, which we hope will result in technologies that improve farming, from agronomy and farm management solutions to supply-chain and marketing advances,” Black said. “This is one example of the connections we are creating to empower agriculture.”

Grand Farms is partnering with CHS, North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service to identify research projects.