Dakota Valley Growers (DVG) and Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc. announced that DVG has been awarded a grant from North Dakota's Agricultural Products Utilization Commission to cover certain initial project development costs.

The Commission awarded DVG $128,500 to cover 75% of initial engineering, design, permitting, and legal work associated with developing the DVG project. Engineering teams have now been engaged by DVG and Bion and have begun design work to support conditional use permit applications. The applications are expected to be submitted within two months, at which time a public hearing will be scheduled for soon after.

The Ag Products Utilization Commission (APUC), a division of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, awards grants designed to encourage the creation of jobs and industry or provide a new outlet for products within the agricultural economy of North Dakota. Expanding the capacity of DVG will generate an increase in local demand for corn and other grains as well as agricultural residues, such as wet distiller grains, soybean meal, and sugar beet pulp.

The DVG project will provide several additional benefits to North Dakota and ND agriculture, including a market for local feeder calves and a reputation for innovation and producing sustainable beef. Further, DVG will produce local, low-carbon and/or organic nitrogen fertilizers with less environmental impact than synthetics as well as surplus renewable energy from biogas and solar electric production. DVG and Bion (as a partner) anticipate additional grants, incentives and resources will become available to support DVG's expansion and transition to production of sustainable beef, fertilizers, and energy.

Russell Edgar, founder of DVG, says, "We are excited to see things moving forward and pleased that the Ag Products Utilization Commission also recognized this as an opportunity, not just for DVG, but for North Dakota agriculture as a whole. We'd like to thank the North Dakota Livestock Alliance for their help on this, and we anticipate working with other state agencies and stakeholders to support this project and the production of premium finished beef right here in North Dakota."

Bill O'Neill, Bion's CEO, says, "We look forward to working with Dakota Valley Growers to develop a sustainable beef production facility in North Dakota. The weather in North Dakota presents unique challenges to feeding cattle outdoors that we believe will highlight the advantages of barns coupled with state-of-the-art waste treatment and resource recovery technology."