The article below was written by former Governor George Sinner for Northern Crops Institute's 20th Anniversary Celebration Book that was published in 2003:
When I was the president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers, I worked on the committee that replaced the NDSU greenhouses. After those buildings were funded, someone said there's another project that badly needs doing — an institute that will tell people about the virtues of northern grown crops. The more I Iistened, the more I knew he was right.
So, I decided to have one more adventure. NDSU President Laurel Loftsgard was supportive, "All I ask of you is to go after enough money to do it right," he said. I remember that very clearly, because it was a very good piece of advice.
We proceeded to get representatives from the other four states to be on the original board. They all shared the same crops and we knew the facility wouldn't have the clout and prestige that it needed if it didn't represent more than just North Dakota. The idea was clearly one of a kind and that added to our effort to get a good facility.
We had regular meetings about the building, and there were lots of discussions about the features in the building. The decision to go with the language translations capabilities was a huge step, not only because of what it did on the practical basis, but it gave the facility a uniqueness that doesn't exist anywhere else in the region, and probably puts it on a plane of prestige that others will have trouble copying.
The Northern Crops Council became a four-state effort. We quit thinking in terms of borders; we need to think in terms of regions and community groups. We work with our neighboring states as a community of states with a community of interest in crop production and information.
NCI needs to be many things, but it comes to the presentation of facts about the production that we do here, nobody can do it better than an institution like this. It has all the increments...the mechanical increments, the simultaneous translation, the mill where you can show how things can be milled, it has the right tone and the right technology. The academic setting was important, the representation was important and, most important, NCI is a setting for the intellectual presentation of facts about what we do here.