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Government of Canada

Canada’s minister of infrastructure and communities is he’s hoping negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement will strengthen what’s already in place.

Amarjeet Sohi was in Bismarck to speak to the local Chamber of Commerce.

"We are hopeful we will be able to negotiate a NAFTA that works for everyone and will continue to enhance our shared prosperity," Sohi said in an interview with Prairie Public.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota businesses are being asked to participate in a workforce survey.

"Understanding our state's workforce needs is simultaneously one of our primary challenges, and one of our greatest opportunities," said Job Service-North Dakota director and state Labor Commissioner Michelle Kommer. "This work cannot be done in a vacuum."

Kommer said the survey is the first-of-its kind, in that all of North Dakota’s businesses are invited to participate.

ND Commerce dept.

North Dakota’s Commerce Commissioner believes North Dakota needs an intermodal transportation site.

“Intermodal transportation” means freight is loaded into special containers that can be moved between different modes of transportation without having to unload the contents and repack it.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Two business and development organizations serving the Bismarck-Mandan area are planning to combine.

They’re the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce – and the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association. Brian Ritter is the president and CEO of both organizations.  He told reporters combining the two strengthens the business community’s voice.

"If you have two business organizations coming together, and advocating on those same issues that are relevant and important to the business community, one bigger voice is stronger and more effective," Ritter said.

ND Commerce dept.

03021 Trucking                                                        4-17-18 ddt

The most recent Omnibus spending bill Congress approved has a provision that eases load restriction on North Dakota Interstate highways.

It affects I-29 and I-94.

"What that means is, we can probably decrease our cost of transportation by 30 percent," said North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler. "In the case of containers, we'll be able to pull two 20 foot containers versus one."

Schuler said there's a little more expense on loading and unloading.

So far, China has not taken any formal action to impose tariffs on soybeans.

China has taken some retaliatory action against US goods and commodities – after the Trump Administration announced it was imposing tariffs on some Chinese products.

What happens if China impose tariffs or embargoes on US soybeans?

"We are looking at $1.5 billion less of exports for the state of North Dakota," said North Dakota Soybean Growers Association executive director Nancy Johnson.

Todd McDonald / Prairie Public

After receiving patent approval earlier this month a Wahpeton manufacturer is looking to not only expand its facilities – but to also launch a new technology in rubber belting.

Prairie Public's Todd McDonald has this story.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The 4th annual “Farming and Ranching for the Bottom Line” was held Tuesday at Bismarck State College.

The conference was held to talk about the weather outlook, crop production, grazing strategies and economics, especially in dry years.

David Archer is a research leader at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, south of Mandan. His topic was “Economics of Improving Soil Quality.” Archer said one practice toward improving soil quality is “no-till” farming.

Bismarck's Kirkwood Mall to get a face-lift

Feb 8, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

50 years ago, ground was broken for Bismarck’s Kirkwood Mall.

Now, the Mall is undergoing a face-lift.

Part of the reason for it was a flood the mall suffered a year ago. Proceeds from the insurance settlement will help pay for the renovation.

Plans include new flooring, new paint, new chairs and places for people to stand or sit around small tables.

Keith Grotewald owns Lee’s Hallmark, one of the original stores in the mall, opening in 1970. He said the mall has changed along with shoppers’ wants and needs.

ND Agriculture Dept.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring expects his department’s mediation service will be busy – working on issues between farmers and their bankers.

Goehring said the big problem in agriculture is low commodity prices. He said in his discussions with the bankers, they believe that most of the debt farmers incurred in 2017 will probably get taken care of. Goehring said the problem is in moving forward – and that’s because of low crop prices.