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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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Program Excellence Award applications by Sept. 15 (8/11/2017)

ex·cel·lence - “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good”

As you think about the past year, which team-based Extension program can be described with this word?

I’d venture many, and we want to applaud them all—the teams behind them, actually—at the 2017 Fall Extension and REC Conference this October.

To do that, we need applications for Program Excellence Awards. (That’s your cue.)

Extension is about teamwork, and anyone who has worked with others to design, deliver and evaluate an excellent county- or state-led program in the past year—agents…specialists…support staff…nutrition education assistants—is encouraged to apply. You’ll find everything you need under the 2017 Program Excellence Application heading at Take the Information link to find out what you’ll need for your application and the scoring criteria, and Online Application when you’re ready to do your application. If you have a question as you go, I’ll be glad to help.

The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Please encourage your colleagues to apply, and don’t be shy about applying directly for your own team. Teams chosen will receive a cash award, and we thank the Farm and Ranch Guide for their generous sponsorship.

Ron Wiederholt, District Director

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Extension does great work – thank YOU (8/2/2017)

It’s hard not to be impressed with the great Extension work that happens each day in North Dakota and across the nation because of the Cooperative Extension System. I offer four concrete examples. First, 4-H continues to provide exceptional positive youth development, which was evidenced at the N.D. State Fair with over 600 participants and about 10,000 total entries. These are the accomplishments of the youth, but parents, volunteers and especially Extension staff are the mentors and coaches who provide the positive environment for this success. Kudos to all.

Ditto on kudos to all of the Extension staff and counselors who continue to fulfill the dreams for the N.D. 4-H Camp. I know that a couple camps are in progress or remain for next week, but enrollment will set another record this year. Records are great, but I think of the girls and boys who are having a summer-time blast and learning at the same time. I also thank the counties who supported youth who attended this summer’s camps.

My third example of NDSU Extension’s critical role in the state is your ongoing response to the drought. Personally, I have not seen this severe of drought effects, even in 1988, although I was in Minnesota at that time. Extension’s resources, meetings, news releases, personal consultations and testing have served our farmers and ranchers well. Agents, the information that you are feeding into the Drought Monitor Index is exceptionally valuable. I know the personal conversations and drought situations that you encounter daily are not easy and they’re not done yet, but I and many, many others thank you.

My last example of the recognition of Extension’s continuing value is shown in the challenge related to the herbicide dicamba and its injury to soybean and other sensitive plants. This is a national issue where dicamba applications have been banned in Missouri and Arkansas. While N.D. Extension specialists and agents are not dealing with this at the same frequency as colleagues in other states, Extension is recognized as a critical, non-biased third party in this situation. For a quick read, please check “Who needs Extension anyway?”  My answer to the question is “North Dakota” and the rest of the nation.

Thank you for reminding me of the great work you do every day.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Annual Highlights is a winner on many fronts (8/1/2017)

2016 Annual Highlights CoverThe NDSU Extension Service and N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station put out its first Annual Highlights in 2001 as a way to report our collective accomplishments to SBARE, legislators and other stakeholders. The report could easily fill 1,000 pages each year for all the great efforts and impacts there are to tell about, but we glean, glean some more, and then highlight a cross section knowing there will be more excellent information to share the next year.

The 2016 Annual Highlights won first place in the 2017 National Federation of Press Women communications contest. Take a look at the judges’ comments below then join me in recognizing the Agriculture Communication Team of Kelli Armbruster, Ellen Crawford, Dave Haasser and Deb Tanner for excellent writing, organization and design. Don’t stop there though. In each report is name after name and face after face of other hard-working employees with whom the content originates. It takes a team, and each year as I read the report, I’m reminded and thankful to be a part of the great Extension and research team at NDSU.

2017 judges’ comments: “This is a VERY impressive publication. The subject matter could easily be considered somewhat routine, but the stories come alive through strong writing and especially excellent photography throughout as well as compelling infographics. This is a fairly lengthy piece, but it doesn't feel that way due to the clean design and careful use of subheads and spot color to move readers through the publication. The photos are very people-focused. The cover is eye-catching and the photos there lead into many of the stories inside. The overall feel created by this publication is one of two very active programs that are highly engaged with the community and making a difference.”

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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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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