McKenzie County had 247 resident births and 105 resident deaths in 2020, according to data recently released by the North Dakota Department of Health Vital Statistics Division. That represents a decline in births from the all-time-high in 2019 where there were 278 births recorded. When compared to a decade ago in 2010 where there were 53 births and 56 deaths recorded.

AgweekTV in conjunction with StrengthenND is profiling modern-day homesteaders. Sandy Rieker who lives outside Alexander, ND is the first to be profiled. Rieker and her family moved to North Dakota a decade ago and through grit and determination have built a life that they love.

The Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce led a group of their members to visit Western ND in early July. The trip coincided with the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Cookfest held in Arnegard. Tour attendees got to hear from petroleum industry leaders about the basics of the industry as well as new trends and technologies. The next day attendees met at the Rough Rider Center in Watford City to hear from western North Dakota leaders about the current state of affairs and what might be next for public and private projects. Tour attendees found the trip to be valuable—seeing things in person rather than just reading about them. Plans are underway to keep the east-west dialogue continuing.
The Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) is an innovation loan fund to support technology advancement. The purpose is to provide financing for commercialization of intellectual property within the State of ND for industries such as:
  • Advanced computing and data management
  • Agriculture technology
  • Autonomous and unmanned vehicles and related technologies
  • Energy
  • Health care
  • Value-added agriculture
  • Value-added energy
  • Any industry or area specifically identified by the committee as an industry that will contribute to the diversification of the state’s economy.
Learn more by visiting:
Save the date! Job Service North Dakota will be holding a job fair in Williston on September 16, 2021 from 2-6pm. For more information visit here.
Employer registration deadline is September 3rd.


The June Economy at a Glance is now available. Some data of note:
  • McKenzie County’s unemployment rate for April 2021 is 4.1% in March 2021 it was 4.8%
  • McKenzie County Landfill daily average for 2020 was 95.92 tons, in 2019 it was 128.55 tons.
  • Farmers Prices Received Index (2011 Base) jumped from 98.3 in March 2021 to 105.1 in April 2021.

Plans have been in the works for years to relocate the McKenzie County Fairgrounds due to its current landlocked location and insufficient facilities for our growing community. Approximately 210 acres were purchased last year just inside the Highway 85 bypass southwest of Watford City to provide for a new location. In April, the McKenzie County Commissioners approved $40 million towards the project. Current plans for the first phase include a 30,000 square foot exhibit hall, 56,000 square foot livestock arena, and an outdoor arena with a covered grandstand.

Forty-two houses have been accepted into the McKenzie County JDA Housing Development Subsidy Program as of May 27, 2021. With that, $125,000 remains to be allocated out of the $2,000,000 in program funding. The JDA board has recently indicated there is not interest in seeking more funds to the program, so once that allocation runs out, applications will no longer be accepted.

The Veterans Memorial Park project continues on with the final phase of its plan. Phase one was completed in 2019 with 12 granite monuments containing the names of McKenzie County veterans, flags and recognition of the branches of the US military. When completed, it will also include a stainless steel eternal flame, more flags and benches. The park is located near the intersection of Park Ave E and and 2nd St NE in Watford City.

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of grants from the Vision West ND Foundation.
The Foundation Committee has made $8,000 available to fund community or organization projects. In the last round, grant awards ranged from $1,000 to $1,500. The deadline for submission is June 30. The Vision West ND Foundation created the grant program to support the activities of the areas served by the consortium. The mission is to award grants that contribute to the well-being of the communities within the Vision West ND region. All consortium members in good standing are eligible to apply. Find more info here.