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FirstLink: A Free and Confidential Helpline Answered 24 Hours a Day (6/26/2017)

Are you are working with individuals or groups around issues of stress, or do you know someone who is feeling stressed?

If so, please share the printable statewide helpline resources available on the FirstLink website: You will find calling cards, bookmarks and brochures. Print as many as you need for your work and community.

FirstLink offers callers listening and emotional support, needs assessment, information, referral, suicide support services and volunteer opportunities. Free and confidential help is available 24 hours a day.

  • Helpline: Dial 2-1-1 or 701-235-7335
  • 24-Hour Suicide Lifeline: Dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Also check the NDSU Extension Service Children, Families and Finances website regularly where additional helpful resources will be added as they’re discovered.

Deb Gebeke, Extension Assistant Director, Family and Consumer Sciences

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And the winner is... (6/23/2017)

NDSU Agriculture Communication took home several awards from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) annual conference last week at New Orleans. There’s a complete write-up at Here’s a snapshot:

  • Becky Scott ACE 2017Scott Swanson, electronic media specialist – Pioneer Award (photo at right)
  • Becky Koch, Ag Communication director – Service Award with recognition for Elizabeth Cronin, administrative assistant/conference coordinator (photo at right)
  • Kelli Armbruster, information specialist; Bruce Sundeen, electronic media specialist; and Scott Swanson – Silver award for Sound Ag Advice
  • Kelli Armbruster; Bob Bertsch, web technology specialist; Ellen Crawford, information specialist; Sonja Fuchs, web technology specialist; Becky Koch; Bruce Sundeen; and Scott Swanson – Silver award for Virtual Communication Camp
  • Becky Koch – Bronze award for Small Business Disaster Plan app, and Fruits and Vegetables Ag Mag

Applause photoKudos to each of you!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Resources and services of NDSU Libraries (6/21/2017)

Did you know that you don’t have to be on campus in Fargo to use the resources and services of the NDSU Libraries?

  • Search in one of their databases (e.g. Web of Science: Core Collection, CAB Abstracts or Food Science Source) to find peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings and more.
  • Browse or search their list of journals to find a specific publication (e.g. Science, Plant Diseases, Journal of Animal Science).
  • Use the search box on the library home page to find a variety of resources, including articles, government documents and books (ebooks and print). To find ebooks, search for your topic and select Ebook from the Resource Type option along the left. Then click View It for links to access the ebook. Check out some of their most recently added ebooks and print books.

Did you know you can also check-out their print books? Use their interlibrary loan service to request a copy, and they’ll mail the book(s) directly to you for free. When you fill out the form, be sure to use the notes box to let them know that you work for the NDSU Extension Service, and provide your mailing address. When it’s time to return the book, simply mail it back to them using the prepaid shipping label.

Need to find articles, government documents, data, statistics or other sources of information? Wondering about tools for managing references and citations (like EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero)? Want to request a book or journal for their collection? They can help with that too! Depending on your needs, they can work with you via email, telephone, instant messenger, videoconferencing or other tools.

For more information, contact Nicole Juve, agricultural sciences librarian, at or 701-231-8879.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Leigh Gunkel and others honored at NDSU Staff Recognition Social (6/7/2017)

Please join me in an overdue round of applause. Several Extension broad-banded staff members were recognized with awards at the NDSU Human Resources/Payroll and Staff Senate recognition social held on campus April 20.

Leigh GunkelLeigh Gunkel, pictured at the right with Pres. Bresciani, is a nutrition eduation assistant in Griggs, Steele and Traill counties. Leigh received a $250 Staff Recognition Award in the technical/paraprofessional category for her excellent, creative and collaborative work with the Family Nutrition Program. She has developed an extensive network in her 20 years of educational programming and strives to improve food options for the low-income audiences she serves. Sonja Fuchs, web technology specialist with Agriculture Communication, was one of several others from NDSU who were also nominated for this award.

These staff were recognized for their 150 years of combined service: Eric Brandvik, Sonja Fuchs, Angela Scott and Shannon Ueker (5 years); Cindy Dunn, Lisa Johnson and Vicki Miller (15 years); Phil Koapke, Linda Kuster and Bruce Sundeen (20 years); David Dynes (25 years). Recent retirees Val Entringer, Holly Erdmann and Rhonda Holzer were also recognized.

Applause photoWe appreciate each one of you – congratulations!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director


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Time flies when you're having fun! (5/19/2017)

4-H Camp 50th AnniversaryWho knew that 50 years of 4-H camping could pass so quickly and touch so many people? The North Dakota 4-H Camp is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a Reunion for Alumni and Friends of 4-H on August 19 and 20. The N.D. 4-H Foundation has planned a fun and relaxing weekend with many events including a cooking class with the NDSU BBQ Boot Camp, a social and silent auction, entertainment and other activities. If you are up for a friendly archery competition, find me and we’ll see about bragging rights. Please check the Reunion site for more information and registration details. The registration deadline is July 20. This will be a great way to end the summer with 4-H friends!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Four inducted into Quarter Century Club (5/5/2017)

Four men began very different career paths a quarter century ago, but last night we celebrated something they all have in common – 25 years of dedication to NDSU and the NDSU Extension Service. John, Dave, Jack and Tom joined 20 other university employees as the latest inductees into the NDSU Quarter Century Club. Please help me congratulate these familiar names with a round of applause for their combined 100 years of service to NDSU and the people of North Dakota:

  • John Dhuyvetter, Livestock Systems Area Specialist, North Central REC
  • Dave Dynes, Press Operator-Print and Copy Services, Agriculture Communication
  • Jack Rasmussen, Chair, Department of Plant Pathology
  • Tom Scherer, Agricultural Engineer, Ag and Biosystems Engineering

 Quarter Century Club 2017






Left to right: President Bresciani, Dave Dynes, Tom Scherer and Chris Boerboom (John and Jack unavailable)


Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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949,431 (4/21/2017)

It’s the record number for an atlas of Dickey County in the Library of Congress.

It’s the MLS number of a home for sale at Knoxville, Tennessee.

And it’s the beginning of a whole lot of phone numbers in southern California.   

The thing I want to talk about is the 949,431 direct contacts – differences – you made with North Dakotans in 2016.

Though these contacts are just one measure of our work, they demonstrate our direct connection – the relationships – with the people we’re here to serve. If you think your QPRs don’t matter—you’re only one person, right?—please think again. The 2016 QPR Pie Chartchart to the right (click to upsize) is put in front of SBARE members, legislators, the Extension Comprehensive Review Committee and others who can and do impact the organization’s future, so please continue to take the time to report. It supports your peers, your program team and Extension, as a whole.

I thank you for your impact statements as well. As Paul Harvey ended his radio programs, they tell “…the rest of the story.” The more solid successes you report, the better position we’re in to show our county, state and federal stakeholders that the NDSU Extension Service is a great investment. They demonstrate the need for and strength of all of our program areas. Your impact statements are used in legislative reports, the Annual Highlights report and federal reports; they’re shared with our congressional delegation; and many are posted on a national database that touts excellence and accomplishments in Extension programming for our national partner, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). We’re in the process of putting renewed vigor into further uses of impact statements in the press and social media as well.

Your QPRs and impact statements, and the work you do, matters. Please continue to give due diligence to reporting so we can know about, celebrate and share your successes.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Extension turnover: favorable trends (2/10/2017)

While we want all dedicated personnel to spend their entire career with the NDSU Extension Service, we recognize that staff members sometimes leave Extension for personal reasons, new career opportunities, or other reasons. Some also retire after long and distinguished Extension careers.

Over the past year, the Extension Leadership Team (ELT) has been looking at staff turnover rates to determine how we, as an organization, are doing with retention. To do so, we compared turnover rates for our Extension agent positions to those in other parts of North Dakota state government for the years 2011 through 2015.

According to North Dakota Human Resource Management Services, the division within the Office of Management and Budget that deals with human resource issues for state government, 12.5% of North Dakota state employees left their jobs in 2015 (Table 1). You will also note that turnover for traditional state agencies has increased from high single-digit percentages several years ago to low double-digit percentages now.

ND State Agency Turnover 2007-2015

Now let’s look at turnover with our Extension agent positions (see below). As you will see, our turnover has decreased steadily over the past few years, from 14.8% in 2011 to 8.8% in 2015.

NDSU Ext Agent Turnover 2011-2015

The good news is that turnover of Extension agent positions is lower than that of North Dakota state government as a whole, and while turnover of state employees has been increasing in recent years, our turnover is actually decreasing and, realistically, cannot get much lower.

That’s not to say that we are happy with losing a percentage of our staff every year. We invest significant time, energy, and funds to recruit, hire, train, and support staff, and we don’t want anybody to leave Extension on bad terms. If you have concerns, please visit with your supervisor, mentor, or a member of the ELT. We would much rather address underlying issues or problems than to see an employee leave the Extension Service.

The ELT would also like to think that we have high levels of employee retention because we hire great people and are committed to a set of core values. These include a culture built on honesty, making a difference, valuing lifelong learning, and valuing all people.

The NDSU Extension Service is doing great things, and we are awed and grateful every day to work with such passionate and talented people as we have in Extension. We hope that you feel the same way.

Extension Leadership Team

(Extension Director Chris Boerboom; District Directors Jim Gray, Kim Ruliffson and Ron Wiederholt; Program Leaders Brad Cogdill, Lynette Flage, Deb Gebeke and Charlie Stoltenow; Ag Communication Director Becky Koch; Assistant to the Extension Director Lori Lymburner; and Administrative Interns Carrie Knutson and Sam Markell)

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Another Fellow among us (2/9/2017)

Rich Zollinger 2017

Please join me in a round of applause for Dr. Richard Zollinger, professor and Extension weed specialist with the Department of Plant Sciences. On Monday of this week the Weed Science Society of America recognized Rich with their highest honor – the Fellow Award – at their annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Nominees must be active members of WSSA for at least 10 years and have made substantial contributions in more than one of the following areas: professional publications; educational contributions other than publications; development of improvement of weed science programs, practices and products; other professional contributions; service to WSSA or regional conferences; and service to the profession outside the society. There’s a “rich” write-up on page 14 of the awards booklet that describes Rich’s significant accomplishments.  

This is quite an honor, Rich. We’re proud of you!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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NDSU ombudsperson services (2/6/2017)

Kristine Paranica is NDSU’s ombudsperson, and she has recently notified NDSU Extension that she is expanding the outreach services of her office to more fully include us. She is offering to assist any staff members that are experiencing bullying or bullying behaviors, and to assist staff groups with group conflict, climate concerns, or other group mediation or facilitation needs. More information on the Office of the NDSU Ombudsperson and services is at Please note that Kristine may be able to travel as part of her service (contingent on funding), but you can always contact her by phone at 701-231-5114, or by email at   

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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