The most valuable assets of North Dakota are its natural energy resources and mineral deposits, such as petroleum, coal, natural gas, sand and gravel. North Dakota's natural resources also include its fertile soil, resulting in a large agricultural economy.
Two-thirds of all the U.S. reserves of ignite coal are located in North Dakota. Petroleum is the most popular mineral resource as the extraction from the Bakken formation is responsible for a higher per capita gross domestic product than that of other states. Natural gas is also found in North Dakota, but this resource is easily wasted when there is not enough infrastructure to support it. Natural gas flares up at sites where oil is being produced ahead of a natural gas connection or where wells are being tested for their production potential.
North Dakota's abundant farmland is also a valuable resource for the state. Through the cultivation of wheat, soybeans, corn, cattle, sugar beets and other crops, the state's final agricultural sector output of 2012 was almost $12 billion. In that year, there were approximately 31,000 farms with a total area of 44,159,912 acres. North Dakota is also a leading producer of sunflower seeds, flaxseed, barley, oats, pinto beans and rye.