Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, alongside Vantis Executive Director Nick Flom, announced the funding Thursday, June 10, at the Grand Farm just south of Fargo. Several legislators, including Grand Forks Republican Sen. Ray Holmberg, also attended the announcement.
In addition to the $20 million pledged to Vantis, $7 million was allocated to continue development of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, while Grand Sky on the Grand Forks Air Force Base received $3 million.
Sanford, who also chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, said the additional funding to span Vantis from the Bakken Formation in the western portion of the state to the Red River Valley has been over a decade in the making. The lion’s share of the new funding will be aimed at deploying Vantis in eastern North Dakota for agricultural uses.
“It’s really just the government seeding investment to generate new industry and new capital deployment,” Sanford said. “We’ll look forward to taking the full faith we got from the Legislature with the $20 million investment and deploying these assets here.”