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Communicator of the Year

Presented by NDSU Agriculture Communication and the North Dakota chapter of the Association for Communication Excellence


Andy Robinson, Assistant Professor/Agronomist-Potatoes

photo of Andy Robinson

Andy built his Potato Extension site in Ag CMS very quickly after being hired.  He keeps the content fresh by using the blogging style where he makes frequent updates and always includes a photo.  He also provides fresh content and keeps his audience informed by using news feeds.

Besides his website, he’s also very involved in Social Media. He frequently posts to, (using the name “Spudology”) Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  He plans out his social media posts and uses HootSuite to sync them across all outlets, making him a very efficient worker and able to reach different audiences.


Miranda Meehan, Extension Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist


Meehan joined the NDSU Extension team in 2015. She communicates with her target audiences in a number of ways, including social media, websites, news releases, face-to-face consultations, presentations, publications and news media interviews.

She was very involved in the efforts to help producers cope with the 2017 drought that lingered into 2018. That included co-chairing conference calls with agents, specialists and representatives from other agencies such as the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Meehan has led several programing efforts to educate Extension personnel and producers on the importance of proper grazing management and livestock water quality. These efforts have led to the development of several tools to aid producers, including the NDSU Grazing Calculator App, forage production kits and the grazing monitoring stick. In addition, she has coordinated with the North Dakota Department of Health to provide water sampling containers and guidelines to each NDSU Extension county office.

In addition, she is co-chair of the NDSU Extension Livestock Management Team. She has led efforts to improve the team’s communication by coordinating news releases and creating a social media presence.

Meehan earned B.S and M.S degrees in Animal and Range Science and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Management, all from NDSU.


Sam Markell, Extension Plant Pathologist


Sam Markell, who joined NDSU Extension in 2007, is being honored for his expertise and professionalism in delivering educational programs and information to the public.

Markell has led several efforts, including the development of disease diagnostic cards, which provide producers with disease management information for a number of crops. These cards are not just helping North Dakota farmers; the bean cards have been translated into Spanish and are being translated into Haitian Creole. The sunflower cards have been translated into Chinese.

Markell also has led a statewide effort to increase awareness about soybean cyst nematode (SCN), a devastating pathogen of soybeans that is spreading through North Dakota. In this signature program, Markell secured funding from the North Dakota Soybean Council to organize a statewide SCN sampling effort through county offices. He also co-organized multiple field days with agents and developed teaching materials.

He is leading a national effort on SCN called the “SCN Coalition,” which is a joint effort of public and private partners whose mission is to more effectively manage SCN nationally.

Markell grew up in Minnesota and graduated from NDSU with B.S. and M.S. degrees before earning a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas in 2007. He and his wife, Veronica, have 11-year-old twin daughters and an 8-year-old son.


Lisa Pederson, Extension Beef Quality Assurance Specialist

As the beef quality assurance (BQA) specialist, Lisa assists beef producers on issues such as improving carcass quality, using better cattle-handling techniques and protecting their herds through herd health practices. She also helps dairy producers understand that they are a valuable part of the beef industry and educates them about practices to improve their value to the industry.

Lisa incorporates innovative communication tools in her educational programs. For example, she uses a syringe to shoot mustard into cupcakes to show where producers should and should not vaccinate cattle. She uses her personal Facebook page to communicate the work she and others are doing to educate producers, and to pose questions to generate discussions.

She has been NDSU Extension's BQA specialist since March 1999. She grew up on a cow-calf operation in southwester Colorado, and she and her husband are involved in his family's fifth-generation cattle operation.


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