North Dakota’s distance from large consumer centers and sparse population have discouraged the growth of manufacturing. The state ranks 47th in the nation as a manufacturing state, ahead of only Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming. Its industries are tied closely to the agricultural activity of the state. The production of industrial machinery, primarily for use on farms, and food processing together account for two-thirds of the total income generated by industry. Machinery production is the leading source of industrial income in North Dakota. The production of dairy products is the leading food-processing activity. Agricultural cooperatives are becoming increasingly popular in the state as farmers band together in an effort to retain a portion of the value added to the raw materials they produce. Closely tied to agriculture are such manufactures as animal feeds and fertilizers.
Among the larger establishments in terms of employees are printing and publishing firms and petroleum and natural-gas refineries. Several firms make wood products such as household and commercial furniture and kitchen cabinets. Stone, clay, and glass products supply the construction industry. The state’s largest manufacturing center is Fargo. Other centers are Grand Forks, the Bismarck-Mandan area, and Minot.
Thermal power plants fueled by the state’s lignite supply account for 94 percent of the electricity generated. The remaining electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. The large Garrison Dam project on the Missouri River is publicly owned and operated. Fuels are more than adequate to support increased industry in the state.
North Dakota has an extensive system of railroad lines, many serving to transport agricultural products from small farming communities. Farm products account for 55 percent of the goods hauled by rail and originating in the state, coal makes up 20 percent, and processed foods represent another 19 percent. In 2004 the state had 5,782 km (3,593 mi) of railroad track.
The principal east-west highway is Interstate 94, which draws a nearly straight line across the southern portion of the state. The main north-south route is Interstate 29, along the eastern border. In 2007 North Dakota had 139,759 km (86,842 mi) of public roads, of which 919 km (571 mi) were federal interstate highways. There were 8 airports in the North Dakota in 2009, many of which were private airfields. The largest was in Fargo, although none of the state’s airports were considered busy by national standards. "North Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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