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29 Field staff approved for incentive (5/13/2016)

I have good news and not so good news to report on our incentive programs. First the good news. We had a total of 29 applicants approved to receive an incentive on July 1. Kudos to the following staff for seeking this opportunity and presenting strong documentation in their applications!

  • Holly Arnold, Extension Parent Educator/Parent Resource Center, Minot
  • Kim Braulick, Extension Agent, FCS & FNP/Benson County
  • Becky Buchmann, Extension Agent, ANR/Dunn County
  • Michelle Effertz, Extension Agent, FCS/McLean County
  • Sheldon Gerhardt, Extension Agent, ANR/Logan County
  • Alicia Harstad, Extension Agent, ANR/Stutsman County
  • Kari Helgoe, Extension Agent, CLD/Pembina County
  • Bill Hodous, Extension Agent, ANR/Ramsey County
  • Mary Jean Hunter, Nutrition Education Assistant, EFNEP & FNP/Sioux County
  • Trisha Jessen, Extension Agent, FNP/Renville County
  • Callie Johnson, Extension Agent, FCS/McHenry County
  • Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent, FCS/Mercer County
  • Cindy Klapperich, Extension Agent, FCS/Sargent County, and Staff Development Coordinator
  • Michael Knudson, Extension Agent, ANR/Grand Forks County
  • Carrie Knutson, Extension Agent, 4-HYD/Grand Forks County
  • Julie Kramlich, Extension Agent, ANR/Adams County
  • Samantha Lahman, Extension Agent, ANR/Pembina County
  • Sara Laite, Extension Agent, FNP/Ramsey County
  • Deb Lee, Extension Agent, FCS/Ransom County
  • Lindsay Maddock, Extension Agent, ANR/Wells County
  • Penny Nester, Extension Agent, ANR/Kidder County
  • Jean Noland, Extension Agent, EFNEP/Grand Forks County
  • Rick Schmidt, Extension Agent, ANR/Oliver County
  • Molly Soeby, Extension Agent, FCS/Grand Forks County & Extension Parent Educator/Parent Resource Center, Grand Forks
  • Tara Sondeland, Extension Agent, FNP/Pembina County
  • Acacia Stuckle, Extension Agent, 4-HYD/Emmons County & Extension Agent, 4-HYD & FCS/Kidder County
  • Rita Ussatis, Extension Agent, FCS/Cass County
  • Janet Wanek, Extension Agent, FCS/Dunn County
  • Todd Weinmann, Extension Agent, ANR-Horticulture/Cass County

The Advanced Degree Incentive Opportunity gives agents and Extension-funded parent educators the opportunity to add $3,000 to their base salary (in addition to a previous $3,000 increase they would have received upon completion of a master’s degree or Ph.D.) for maintaining rigor and scholarly work in their Extension position above standard expectations. The Learn and Lead Incentive Program for agents, Extension-funded parent educators and nutrition education assistants, rewards performance involving impact, initiative, leadership, educational instruction, creativity and scholarship in addition to meeting basic job expectations. Learn and Lead applicants can opt for a $1,000 cash stipend or $2,000 in professional development funds.

The not so good news is that we are suspending these incentive programs for next year because of budget cuts. In the meantime, we are going to adjust the application process so the submission deadline is better and the review process is improved. During this period of suspension, field staff can still achieve and document several of the items that can be used when the program resumes. (More achievements can be carried forward in the Advance Degree program than the Learn and Lead program. Check the existing application forms for details.)

I thank the agents, specialists and program leaders who reviewed the applications this year.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Eight inducted into Quarter Century Club (5/6/2016)

The applause at the Alumni Center last night gave Garth Brooks concert-goers some competition as 36 NDSU employees were inducted into the Quarter Century Club – eight of them with Extension appointments. Please help me congratulate these familiar names for their combined 200 years of dedication:

  • Tim Becker, Extension Agent, Ag and Natural Resources/Eddy County
  • Ellen Bjelland, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences/Ward County
  • John Grindahl, Graphic Designer, Agriculture Communication
  • Randy Grueneich, Extension Agent, Ag and Natural Resources/Barnes County
  • Becky Koch, Director, Agriculture Communication
  • Carmen Rath-Wald, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences/Logan County
  • Rick Schmidt, Extension Agent, Ag and Natural Resources/Oliver County
  • Ona Vig, Grant and Contract Officer, Ag Budget Office

 Quarter Century Club 2016





Left to right: Becky Koch, Carmen Rath-Wald, John Grindahl, Ona Vig and Chris Boerboom (Randy Grueneich also attended but snuck out before the photo was taken.)


Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Two promoted (5/5/2016)


Carl DahlenDavid Newman


The titles of two specialists in the Department of Animal Sciences will change on July 1. Carl Dahlen, Extension beef cattle specialist, and David Newman, Extension swine specialist, have been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. While we know the excellence of their programming and contributions to the state, these academic promotions are a formal acknowledgement of their scholarly achievements in Extension, research and teaching. We’re proud of their accomplishments!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

Carl Dahlen                        David Newman

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PILD delegates report great opportunity (5/4/2016)

Holly Arnold, Extension parent educator; Brad Brummond, Extension ANR agent; Lynette Flage, Center for Community Vitality director; Julie Kramlich, Extension ANR agent; and Macine Lukach, Extension FCS agent and parent educator, represented NDSU Extension Service at the 2016 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference April 10-13 at Washington, DC. Along with getting to know each other better, this group of five met peers from throughout the United States, learned more about Extension at the national level and received advice on effectively working with elected officials.

The group reported that the highlight of their experience was meeting the North Dakota congressional team in their D.C. environment. They enjoyed discussing NDSU Extension program highlights with Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven, Rep. Cramer's Chief of Staff, and others on their respective staffs, covering agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences including the ND Parent Education Network, 4-H youth development and community vitality. Holly's advice for her peers? "Consider being part of a PILD team. Visit DC and be part of the national conversation while educating our congressional delegation about the NDSU Extension Service and all that it provides for North Dakota residents."

PILD 2016

(pictured: Julie Kramlich, Macine Lukach, Holly Arnold, Sen. Heitkamp, Brad Brummond and Lynette Flage)

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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NDPC presents awards (5/3/2016)

Two Agriculture Communication staff members were honored at Minot on April 21 during the North Dakota Professional Communicators spring conference.

Ellen Crawford 2012

   Ellen Crawford, Information Specialist

  • First in specialty articles (agriculture, agribusiness or aquaculture) for articles on the starter flock program, a joint effort by the NDSU Extension Service and North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association, and NDSU Extension’s Design Your Succession Plan program
  • Second in news story for an article about the Master Gardener program
  • Second and honorable mention in publications regularly edited by entrant for her work on The Ranch Hand and Nourishing Boomers and Beyond newsletters, respectively
  • Third in news story for an article on the Rural Leadership North Dakota program

Becky Koch 2011

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director

  • First and second in magapapers/tabloids for the Ag Mag magazine about agriculture for North Dakota’s third-, fourth- and fifth-graders
  • Honorable mention in website edited or managed by the entrant for her work on the Agriculture Communication website

Applause photoPlease join me in a round of applause for Ellen and Becky.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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We are family (5/2/2016)

The NDSU Extension Service is a proud member of the NDSU family. To brand the “family” and our individual “members” of the family, we must follow NDSU branding guidelines. The new Extension branding guidelines follow the university’s.

NDSU University Relations has combined many of its resources into a branding guidelines document.

A few highlights from the NDSU branding guidelines:

  • The approved department, county and Research Extension Center logo options follow the official NDSU logo designs. Never attempt to re-create, alter or add elements to the logos. NDSU Extension Service and N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station logos are available online.
  • A clear space equal to the height of the “NDSU” lettering is required on all sides of the logo. No text, patterns or other graphics should appear within this space.
  • The NDSU logo is a graphic, not a font, and users never should attempt to re-create the logo by typing “NDSU” in a similar-looking font.
  • The NDSU seal is not interchangeable with the NDSU logo. Anyone wanting to use the seal must get permission from University Relations.
  • Bison mascot logos are trademarked and are the property of NDSU Athletics. They are to be used only for materials related to athletics or with permission from NDSU Athletics.

The branding guidelines also discuss letterhead, envelopes and business cards; email signatures; email headers; and other resources.

The NDSU Extension Service is proud member of our student-focused, land-grant, research institution. Branding helps people make the connection that Extension is an important outreach arm of NDSU.

Julie Garden-Robinson and Becky Koch for the Extension Branding Committee

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Legislative reporting sessions, economic impact of Extension, and civil rights review news (4/25/2016)

Good day, I have three items to share in this blog post. 

First, hats off to the Extension agents who have coordinated legislative reporting sessions to date. The sessions have been excellent. Sessions have been held at Bismarck, Bottineau, Devils Lake, LaMoure, Minot, Forman, New Rockford, Fessenden, Valley City, Linton, Washburn and Fargo where agents have hosted senators and representatives from 20 districts. I recorded legislators from districts 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 35, 44, 45 and 47 unless I missed someone. In addition to county commissioners, agent invitations have also resulted in aides attending from Senator Hoeven’s and Heitkamp’s and Congressman Cramer’s offices. Many county commissioners and legislative candidates have also attended these sessions.

I believe the outcome of these sessions has been very positive. Our legislators and commissioners learned first-hand from agents about the strong programs Extension is providing in response to local needs, including education on the farm bill, Nourishing Boomers, 4-H science and judging programs, and Design Your Succession Plan, just to name a few. At several sessions, legislators also heard first-hand testimony from Extension users on their experiences and how they benefited. While we speak of Extending Knowledge and Changing Lives, these Extension users shared actual changes to their lives.

More legislative sessions are on the calendar, and I’m confident they will be as successful as those held to date. I look forward to attending the upcoming sessions, including today’s.

Cass County Legislative Reporting Session 2016

(A full house at the legislative reporting session hosted in Cass County)

Second, a recent research article has shown that the national Cooperative Extension System has substantial economic impacts. Charlie Stoltenow shared a report synopsis with the ANR staff. I wanted to share it more broadly and highlight the information below. This particular research had determined that an estimated 137,000 farmers would have left their farms in the past 25 years if not for Extension programs. The study also shows that funding spent on Extension was “directly associated with higher net farm income.” This is powerful data supporting the value of Extension and mirrors the information that we are sharing at our legislative reporting sessions.

Lest you think that this only applies to farmers and agriculture, I point you to the final comments in the policy brief article. It states: 

“The general policy conclusion from this new research is thus that public investments in farmers are better made through the research and educational programs of the Land Grant University system, rather than through direct subsidies to farmers, if the policy goal is to keep farmers on the farm. Educational programs may be especially effective because farmers are known to widely share new knowledge gained. Thus, even if not all farmers participate in given educational programs, the knowledge is disseminated widely through word-of-mouth and by other means. In addition, the broader youth, family and community development programs offered by Cooperative Extension support rural entrepreneurship and innovation, thereby enhancing rural economic vitality. Because so many farmers also rely on off-farm income to supplement their farm income, these broader programs are also essential to farmers’ economic well-being, and have contributed in critical ways to retaining farmers in agriculture over time.” (emphasis added)

Simply stated, Extension provides a strong return on investment, which we should all be proud of.

Third, we have been informed that our USDA Civil Rights Review, which was scheduled for June 6-10, has been cancelled. They informed us that our review has been taken off the list until FY 2018. I anticipate that we will be rescheduled at that time. In the meantime, we should continue our diligence in being inclusive in offering our programs for the benefit of all.  

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Service Awards (4/15/2016)

Please join me in congratulating many Extension staff members who were recognized with awards at the NDSU Human Resources/Payroll and Staff Senate recognition social held on campus Wed., April 13.

Sara Ogundolani 2016Sara Ogundolani received a Staff Recognition Award in the Technical category for her excellent work as account/finance technician with the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. We also recognize Susan Finneseth, EFNEP/FNP program manager, who was nominated for an Individual Award.

And, for over 300 years of combined service, we recognize Diane Hahn and Stacy Wang (5 years); Chris Anderson, Holly Halvorson, Mary Jean Hunter and Nancy Smith (10 years); Blair Johnson and Scott Meyer (15 years); Leigh Gunkel, Luella Morehouse and Phyllis Okland (20 years); John Grindahl and Ona Vig (25 years); Leann Frieler (30 years); Rhonda Holzer (35 years); and Jim Swank – a whopping 45 years! Carol Finley and Rich Mattern, retirees, were also recognized.

Brian Jenks 2016I want to take this opportunity to also offer belated congratulations to Brian Jenks, area weed scientist with the North Central Research Extension Center. Brian received the Service Award at the North Central Weed Science Society annual conference at Indianapolis, Ind. in December. Outstanding, creative contributions in service or leadership in activities that bring significant, important changes in weed science are criteria for this award.

Applause photoCongratulations to each of you!

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Save the dates: Oct. 18 and 19 and 20 (4/6/2016)

Fall Conference 2016 will take place October 18-20 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo. By now some of you may have heard that the format will be different this year. It’s true, as follows:

  • Instead of a conference spread over four days, we will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 18 and conclude at the end of the day on Oct. 20. It is a full three-day conference. Some of you will likely need to travel on Oct. 17.
  • Most of the subject matter training will be grouped into separate days. For example, all ANR sessions will be on the first day, 4-H Youth on the second day, and FCS/CV on the third day. This is being done to minimize conflicts so you can attend all the subject matter sessions for your discipline and also attend technology and/or additional 4-H sessions on the other days.
  • Each of the three days will provide learning opportunities for each of you and a time to network with other staff, so attendance on all three days is expected. Remember that spring conference was eliminated in lieu of a more robust fall conference. We believe this will be our most robust conference yet.

The committee is co-chaired by Joe Zeleznik and Callie Johnson. Please let them know if you have any ideas or suggestions.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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Products of the new eXtension (4/4/2016)

In the past year, eXtension has transitioned itself to provide greater support to Extension professionals. One way that eXtension is providing support is launching the i-Three Corps. The NDSU Extension Service was fortunate to have had two i-Three Issue Corps teams selected in a national competition to participate and focus on issues, innovation and impact (the three “I”s). At the National eXtension conference in March in San Antonio, the first cohort of the i-Three Issue Corps started their work on climate and food systems. NDSU Extension’s teams are listed below.

eXtension Trolley TeamForks Mobile Market and Education Trolley:  The trolley will take hands-on agricultural and nutrition information to Grand Forks locations throughout the summer and will be featured at Stable Days Youth Ranch to demonstrate the value of local foods for health.

Pictured left to right: Molly Soeby, FCS Extension Agent, Grand Forks County and Extension Parent Educator; Caryl Lester of the Town Square Farmers Market in Grand Forks; and Glenn Muske, Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist


eXtension Compost TeamKids, Compost, Crops and Consumption: This project will increase youth involvement in the food cycle. Students will learn the basics of livestock and crop production, how to turn raw manure into compost and how to make nutritious food choices.

Pictured left to right: Todd Weinmann, Horticulture Extension Agent, Cass County; Kelcey Hoffman, ANR Extension Agent, Cass County; Nikki Johnson, Area Community Health and Nutrition Specialist;  Mary Berg, Area Livestock Environmental Management Specialist; Alicia Harstad, ANR Extension Agent, Stutsman County.

This project will increase youth involvement in the food cycle. Students will learn the basics of livestock and crop production, how to turn raw manure into compost, and how to make nutritious food choices.

Also at the conference, Bob Bertsch and Becky Koch led a workshop on “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning: Planning Communications for Maximum Impact” and shared information about the Virtual Communications Camp that is being supported with an eXtension innovation grant.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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