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1,087,442 in 2017 (2/1/2018)

Congratulations NDSU Extension staff!

2013_2017ContactsWe ran the totals on our 2017 face-to-face and other direct contacts with North Dakotans, and we surpassed a million – a 33% increase over five years. Click on the pie for a closer look at the contacts by program area. Each slice is important and contributes to a well-rounded Extension program that serves North Dakota very well. I’m proud of our work and look forward to using these numbers and your impact statements to tell our story to SBARE members, legislators and others in key roles.

Jan. 1, 2018 marked our transition to using PEARS (instead of QPRs) to report contacts. Tips to help you with that will be added to NDSU Extension’s PEARS website next week.

Thanks for all you do. You are truly transformational.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Many receive awards at NAE4-HA Annual Meeting (12/26/2017)

Many NDSU Extension Service agents and specialists were honored at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents annual meeting at Indianapolis, Ind. in November. Please join me in a round of applause for Extension Agents Kimberly Fox, Benson County; Samantha Lahman, Pembina County; Maxine Nordick, Cass County; Crystal Schaunaman, McIntosh County; Rick Schmidt, Oliver County; and Specialists Adrian Biewer, 4-H youth development, and Rachelle Vettern, leadership-volunteer development with the Center for 4-H Youth Development. Information about the awards is included in the recent news release. Congratulations to each of you!

Chris Boerboom, Director

NAE4HA2017Left to right seated: Kimberly Fox and Acacia Stuckle

Left to right standing: Karla Meikle, Rick Schmidt, Crystal Schaunaman, Brian Zimprich, Ron Wiederholt, Penny Nester, Dena Kemmet, Caroline Homan, Meagan Scott, Brad Cogdill and Amelia Doll

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13 Extension employees recognized (12/8/2017)

The ceremony for the NDSU Agriculture and Extension Faculty/Staff Awards was held on campus yesterday. I had the pleasure of helping recognize the 13 Extension colleagues who were nominated for awards of excellence. The nominees and recipients were:

  • Chris Anderson, Production Manager-Print and Copy Services, Agriculture Communication
  • Cora Crane, Grant Coordinator, Plant Sciences
  • Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, Agriculture Communication
  • Hans Kandel, Extension Agronomist, Plant Sciences
  • Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent, Mercer County
  • Macine Lukach, Extension Agent & Parent Educator, Cavalier County
  • Miranda Meehan, Extension Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist (recipient, Myron & Muriel Johnsrud Excellence in Extension/Outreach Award)
  • David Ripplinger, Extension Bioproducts/Bioenergy Economist, Agribusiness & Applied Economics
  • Rick Schmidt, Extension Agent, Oliver County (recipient, AGSCO Excellence in Extension Award)
  • Gerald Stokka, Extension Veterinarian-Livestock Stewardship, Animal Sciences
  • Acacia Stuckle, Extension Agent, Emmons County
  • Shannon Ueker, Administrative Secretary, Plant Sciences (recipient, Donald & Jo Anderson Staff Award)
  • Melanie Ziegler, Administrative Assistant, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

I said at the ceremony, and will say again here, that I sincerely thank not only the nominees for their outstanding work, but those who took the time to tell their peer’s stories and the selection committees who had the very difficult task of selecting only one recipient for each award.

Congratulations all!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

Ag & Ext Awards 2017

Pictured left to right are Chris Boerboom, Rick Schmidt, Sonja Fuchs, Shannon Ueker, Miranda Meehan, Chris Anderson, Macine Lukach and David Ripplinger

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Agents share their experience establishing an Extension advisory council (12/5/2017)

McLean County had never had an Extension advisory council. Until last night, that is. Daunted a little by the county’s square miles (second largest in the state), Michelle Effertz and Calla Jarboe cast their anxieties aside and held the inaugural meeting of their brand new advisory council. We asked for their reflections, and here’s what Michelle said:

Calla and I put our heads together to generate a list of possible council members. We each called our potential board members and asked them to serve one-, two- or three-year terms on the board. Most of those we called were very happy to serve. We also invited our county 4-H ambassadors to attend, and we had two 4-H members at the meeting.

The most valuable benefits of having an advisory council?

  1. Helping county residents get a better understanding of the breadth of Extension programs and finding out that they see real value in the programs we provide.
  2. I think our carousel activity helped them see that what we currently do is beneficial, and it also encouraged them to dream bigger. From this activity we found out that mental health is a big concern in the ag and natural resources area, and we found out that they want us to do more life skills/financial skills development with older youth.
  3. They also said that they want our programming to be fun!!!! Who says education has to be serious all the time?

It wasn’t difficult to do once we made up our mind to do it and get things rolling. It took some organizing, but the new guide provides all the templates you need. You can download them from the Web and tweak them as needed for your group. We gave them a sample of bylaws to review but will vote on that and elect officers at our second meeting in March.

Thank you Michelle and Calla! For more good advice, please tune in to the Advisory Council webinar on Wed., Dec. 6, 10 a.m. CST. (Rachelle Vettern, contact)

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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A sense of belonging (11/29/2017)

We all want it, right – that feeling of security that comes from a smile and encouraging word from a co-worker, peer or leader of a group we’re a part of.  A sense of belonging is a basic need of all people, no matter their age, background or orientation, and we have a responsibility to deliver on this with our co-workers, peers and program participants. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s an expectation of all NDSU employees and county support staff.

The Extension Diversity Council and Deb Gebeke have been working with Dr. Katherine Soule, national 4-H experts and NDSU Equity Office personnel on training that can help all of us be better at creating a sense of belonging for others, especially those of the LGBTQ+ communities. Dr. Soule, a University of California Extension professional who has done extensive research in supporting individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ communities, has insightful information to share with us. All Extension employees will receive an email from Deb and the Diversity Council soon about online training and Q/A sessions with Dr. Soule. Please take note of the materials and plan to participate. Because this subject is especially critical in our work with 4-H youth, I ask each county office to sit down together as a staff to discuss the materials and brainstorm ways in which they can collectively make their programs a safe and judgement-free place for youth.

I thank Deb and the Extension Diversity Council (Cindy Dunn, Randy Grueneich, Vanessa Hoines, Trisha Jessen, Naeem Kalwar, Randy Mehlhoff, Megan Ness Ditterick, Todd Weinmann and Ron Wiederholt) for their work on this and additional trainings in the future.

Chris Boerboom, Director

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NDSU Extension FCS rocks! (11/9/2017)

NEAFCS Omaha MeetingMany NDSU Extension Service agents and specialists were recognized with awards at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences annual meeting at Omaha, Neb. in October. Join me in a round of applause for Extension Agents Brenda Langerud, Ramsey County; Rita Ussatis, Cass County; Kristi Berdal, Nelson & Steele counties; Kim Fox, Benson County; Sara Laite, Ramsey County; and Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist. Information about the awards is included in the recent news release.

Julie Garden-Robinson 2017Ellen Bjelland 2017Ellen Bjelland, Extension agent/Ward County, and Julie Garden-Robinson were elected for two-year terms on the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Board. Ellen is the Central Region director, and Julie is vice president for public affairs. According to Julie, the last time North Dakota had a presence on the board was about 40 years ago, and we now make up one-sixth of it!  This is great testament to Julie’s and Ellen’s leadership skills and a nice endorsement for NDSU Extension.

Windbreak Cookbook CoverThe Windbreak Cookbook Featuring Fruits of the Prairie Forests received the Notable State Government Documents Award from the North Dakota Library Association. The cookbook and two other top nominations will be forwarded for national consideration by the American Library Association in late spring 2018. This is a great example of a multidisciplinary and partnership effort with Derek Lowstuter, North Dakota Forest Service, proposing the original idea and Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist; Kathy Wiederholt, fruit project manager, CREC; and Esther McGinnis, Extension horticulturist, working together with him. Credit is also given to Joe Zeleznik, Extension Forester, who wrote the foreword, and Ellen Crawford who did a great job editing. Bring on the Dakota Juneberry pie!


Kudos to all of you!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Staff recognitions (10/31/2017)

Dave Franzen, Extension soil science specialist, was on hand to receive the American Society of Agronomy’s 2017 Extension Education Community Educational Materials award for Field Guide to Sustainable Production of High-quality Ken Hellevang 2017Durum Wheat in North Dakota. The award was presented during the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America annual international meeting last week at Tampa, Florida. The field guide had stiff competition with 15 other outstanding entries. Dave represented the publishing team of Joel Ransom, Greg Endres, Shana Forster, Andrew Friskop, Richard Zollinger, Kurt Howatt, Janet Knodel, Patrick Beauzay and Kenneth Hellevang. Hats off to all of you!

South Dakota State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering honored Ken Hellevang, Extension agricultural engineer, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at their Banquet of Excellence on Oct. 26 in Brookings. Ken was recognized for “significant contributions to society and accomplishments which have brought credit to the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.” Well deserved, Ken. We’re proud of you.  

 Applause photo

 Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Excellence in innovation and best of show (9/19/2017)

Two great honors were bestowed on staff last week.

John Nowatzki On Monday, Gov. Burgum presented nine Awards for Excellence in Public Service, and John Nowatzki, Extension ag machine systems specialist, received one of them. John was recognized with the Pioneer Award for Excellence in Innovationfor his cutting-edge work in precision agriculture technology, including putting North Dakota at the forefront of farm applications for unmanned aerial vehicles.” You can check out the whole new release here. Well-deserved recognition; we’re proud of you, John!

Big Iron 2017On Thursday, NDSU Extension Service received an award at Big Iron in West Fargo for Best of Show - Field Demonstration Area. The judges evaluated the 900-some exhibit booths on company image (display of name, products and message); personnel (professionalism, knowledge, attentiveness, visibility and attire); and booth/lot (use of space, overall design, attractiveness, originality and display). Ken Hellevang and Tom Scherer, Extension specialists with Ag and Biosystems Engineering; and Julianne Racine, Megan Vig and Kelcey Hoffman, Extension agents in LaMoure, Griggs and Cass counties, respectively, were on hand as part of the greater team to receive the award. Thank you for representing Extension so well at this big event!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Federal SNAP-Ed/FNP reviewers moved by what they saw here (9/1/2017)

At the conclusion of countless hours of preparation, site visits and partner meetings, the NDSU Extension Family Nutrition Program Team heard, “no potential findings” from the SNAP-Ed/FNP federal review team the middle of July, and a letter from the reviewers received last week said the same. I’m told it’s a rare thing for states to not have any findings for corrective actions. As a matter of fact, reviewers gave glowing remarks during their visit and even plan to highlight our invoicing technique as a best practice for other states to adopt.

Along with the standard review of programs and finances, our team wowed them by involving coworkers, partner agencies and campus fiscal offices to demonstrate exceptional collaboration and stewardship of federal funds, and by inviting them into the “classroom” to see first-hand the impacts of the FNP program. Megan Ness Ditterick, FNP and EFNEP specialist and state coordinator shared this with me:  “At one point our regional coordinator left a program area looking out of sorts. When I went to check on her, she shared she was overcome with emotion witnessing first-hand the positive impact of our programming.” That’s what Extension’s about, and I offer special thanks to Ronda Gripentrog, Richland County; Lu Morehouse, Stutsman County; Linda Kuster, Grand Forks County; and Michelle Strang, formerly Cass County, for giving reviewers an eyeglass into your work. Thanks, too, to Kayla Bakewell and Chandra Langseth, agents in Richland County; and Jean Noland, agent in Grand Forks County and summer interns there, who partnered with Ronda and Linda on their presentations.

Please join me in a shout-out to the whole FNP team for their excellent work with families and youth, and to Megan Ness Ditterick and Susan Finneseth for their organization and support. They "change lives."

Applause photoKimberly Fox, Benson County; Debra Johnson, Burleigh & Morton counties; Megan Myrdal, Cass County; Nicole Smith, Dunn, McKenzie & Williams counties; Linda Kuster, Grand Forks County; Leigh Gunkel, Griggs, Steele & Traill counties; Carolee Kaylor, McHenry & Pierce counties; Tara Sondeland, Pembina & Walsh counties; Sara Laite, Ramsey County; Ronda Gripentrog, Richland County; Karen Armstrong, Rolette County; Mary Jean Hunter, Sioux County; Luella Morehouse, Stutsman County; Trisha Jessen, Ward County; Nikki Johnson and Jan Stankiewicz, area community health and nutrition specialists; and Susan Finneseth & Megan Ness Ditterick, state office

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Honors galore! (8/30/2017)

Joel RansomJoel Ransom, Extension agronomist, was recognized with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, an award issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, for contributing over 100 hours of service on international assignments with the Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Senegal, West Africa. Joel’s work, funded by Winrock International, focused on providing instruction to women’s groups on the making and marketing of couscous. The Council was created in 2003 by former President George W. Bush to recognize “individuals, group and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering.” The award is given on an annual basis. You can find out more in the news release. Thank you, Joel, for answering this need so well.

Many NDSU Extension Service agents and specialists were honored at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents annual meeting at Salt Lake City, Utah in July. Join me in a round of applause for Extension Agents Dan Folske, Burke County; Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County; Todd Weinmann, Cass County; Lindy Berg, Towner County; Craig Askim, Mercer County; and Brad Brummond, Walsh County; and Specialists Mary Berg, livestock environmental management/CREC; Greg Endres, cropping systems/CREC; and Hans Kandel, agronomist/Plant Sciences. Information about the awards is included in the recent news release. Congratulations to each of you.

Andrew Thostenson 2017Andrew Thostenson, Extension pesticide program specialist, received the highest recognition given by the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators during their national meeting in Fargo July 25-26. AAPSE Fellows are selected for their “superior service to AAPSE and achievement in education, certification, public service, research, personal achievement and recognition.” A number of the supporting letters in Andrew’s nomination spoke of his dedication, integrity, leadership and creativity to advance pesticide safety education. Excellent work, Andrew!




Chris Boerboom, Extension director

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