NDSU Extension


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  • The eXtension initiative, an effort led by the national Extension Committee on Organization and Policy to advance the engagement and outreach of land-grant universities, was publicly launched on Feb. 21. NDSU is one of 74 universities involved. eXtension (pronounced E-extension), is a Web-based portal that provides the public with information on various topics along a continuum ranging from basic information or answers to frequently asked questions that require no interaction, to certificates and credit courses or multiple learning modules. It is accessible by anyone with a computer or mobile device, and complements and enhances Extension’s community-based educational programming.
  • On April 11, NDSU Agriculture and Extension's internal email lists that had been using the majordomo system (@ndsuext.nodak.edu) were transferred to the Information Technology Services Listserv system (@listserv.nodak.edu).
  • NDSU Extension Service participated in a National Cooperative Extension System Brand Value Research Study to better understand the needs and perceptions the general public and stakeholders have for and about Extension. Copernicus Marketing Research completed 2,000 interviews of the general population nationwide, and an additional 300 interviews of North Dakotans who were asked state-specific questions. An additional 189 North Dakotan stakeholders completed an online survey (the third highest response rate in the U.S.). Some findings: 83 percent were aware of the NDSU Extension Service (more than double the national rate of in-state Extension program awareness); 83% were aware of 4-H ; 43% had used Extension; and 83% rated NDSU Extension Service as very good or excellent at providing the information/guidance respondents needed.

Program Highlights

Knowledge was extended to North Dakotans through 536,614 face-to-face contacts by NDSU Extension Service employees.

A press conference was held on Sept. 30 announcing the NDSU Extension Service and N.D. Department of Agriculture partnership on a Local Foods Initiative. Roger Haugen and Rudy Radke were the Extension point persons on the project.

NDSU and the NDSU Extension Service responded to the difficult economic times across the country with a number of open forums and training opportunities for staff, students and the public--most during the month of October. An open forum entitled "How did the Economy Get Here?” was presented on campus to faculty, staff, students and the public. Extension's Farm and Financial Security program team sponsored Friday conference calls to address with staff the most pressing economic security issues and to review resources available for them to assist the public with their questions and concerns. An open forum for the public to hear information and ask questions about surviving tough financial times was done by videoconference and as a live and recorded webcast statewide.

NDSU Extension Service participated in the first ever 4-H National Youth Science Day -- a springboard for the organization's new public service campaign, "One Million New Scientists. One Million New Ideas. TM." The purpose of the initiative is to further encourage youth to study the sciences and help America maintain its global competitive edge. The first national science experiment focused on the environment and taught youth about water-absorbing polymers that can be used in environmental applications such as agriculture, erosion control, soil management and environmental clean-ups. 4-H National Youth Science Day has been going strong ever since with a new experiment being done by youth across the country each year.

Severe drought conditions in some parts of the state made 2008 a difficult year for affected farmers and ranchers. Higher fuel, grain, hay and fertilizer costs added to the burden. A drought team of Extension and Experiment Station faculty and staff provided information to help producers as they went through the process of making tough decisions. The drought team met with Extension agents on a regular basis to assess the situation. The team also provided information to state and federal agencies so appropriate action, such as a disaster declaration, could be taken. News media and a drought website was kept up to date. www.ag.ndsu/edu/disaster/drought. (2008 Annual Highlights - Greg Lardy)

Twenty-seven North Dakota 4-H clubs earned special recognition for making “Eat Smart. Play Hard.” lessons part of their 2007-08 club meetings. To receive the Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club designation, clubs were required to incorporate at least one health, nutrition, food safety or physical activity into a minimum of six regular meetings during the year. Some took part in Extension’s Walk North Dakota program where 3,507 individuals logged 1.35 billion steps. (2008 Annual Highlights - Julie Garden-Robinson)

The horticulture industry is one of the fastest growing segments in agriculture, generating $450 million annually in North Dakota. Funding from the 2007-2009 legislature made it possible for Extension to expand the horticulture program in the state by placing a horticulture specialist at Bismarck to serve the western part of the state. Several initiatives have been started including: launching one of the largest variety trial programs in the nation with more than 100 growers across the state evaluating vegetable and cut-flower varieties; expanding the pool of Master Gardener volunteers in the region; and establishing a gardening program for youth on the Standing Rock Reservation to promote nutrition and entrepreneurship. (2008 Annual Highlights - Tom Kalb)

Building Connections, an Extension project to strengthen families and increase positive youth development at Home on the Range and on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, received a 2008 certificate of commendation from the National Children, Youth and Families at Risk Program. Building Connections provides parent education and 4-H programs at Standing Rock and 4-H activities for youth at Home on the Range and an educational newsletter for their parents. More than 600 youth and adults from Standing Rock and 80 youth from Home on the Range have participated. (2008 Annual Highlights - Sean Brotherson)

North Dakota 4-H programs are helping youth throughout the state learn and practice work-force readiness skills. More than 300 annually enhance their public speaking and communication skills in district communication arts events. In 2008, more than 1,700 youth demonstrated the ability to carry through on a project by exhibiting 10,192 exhibits at the North Dakota State Fair. More than 600 demonstrated their decision-making skills in regional and state judging contents. Nearly 50 youth represented the state in 2008 through national opportunities including National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference, Citizenship Washington Focus and national judging teams in several areas of the sciences. (2008 Annual Highlights - Brad Cogdill)

The 2008 statewide field survey revealed very low fusarium head blight (FHB or scab) incidences and severity. Of the post-flowering wheat fields, 23.3 percent showed some symptoms of scab, but the average scab index was only 1.7 percent. Of the post-heading barley fields surveyed, 10.8 percent showed some symptoms of FHB, but the average index in these fields was only 2.2 percent. The most frequent occurrence and highest severity were observed in the northeastern region of the state, yet they were relatively low at 3.4 percent in wheat and 3 percent in barley. FHB was not observed at all in the most western areas of the state because of very dry conditions throughout most of the growing season. (2008 Annual Highlights - Marcia McMullen)

In 2008, North Dakota producers planted 70 percent of their hard red spring wheat acres to varieties developed by NDSU. Sales are estimated to be more than $1.5 billion. (2008 Annual Highlights)

A recent study of parent education in North Dakota showed that NDSU Extension Service and their Parent Resource Centers ranked first as the main contact for parenting information in local communities. The centers also came in as the most useful organization in addressing parenting and family issues. Centers are in Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Mandan, Minot, Valley City and Williston. The 2007-09 Legislature provided funding for the centers. Along with local agencies, Extension collaborates with the North Dakota Department of Human Services to provide its educational programs. (2008 Annual Highlights - Sean Brotherson)

4-H outdoor education programs increased from 217 youth in 2002 to 779 in 2007. (2008 Annual Highlights)

Studies on the use of irrigation in the Nesson Valley near Williston is helping producers with crop rotations and crop variety selection. Research includes variety trials on 14 crops; four-year crop-rotation study on wheat, barley, sugar beets and potatoes; three-year tillage study with corn, barley and soybeans; seed increase research for wheat and barley; potato trials and potato water management; barley variety development trials and water management studies; biomass yield research and seed population study using soybeans and sugar beets. (2008 Annual Highlights - Chet Hill and Jerry Bergman)

To determine the environmental impacts of standard farm and ranch practices, the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station, NDSU Extension Service, N.D. Health Department and U.S. Geological Survey launched the Discovery Farms program across the state. The goal is for the Discovery Farms to collect environmental and farm production data that account for the diversity of agriculture, topography, weather and other factors across the state. The data will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of various practices that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining profitability. (2008 Annual Highlights - Ron Wiederholt)

Get Active Eat Healthy was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Cheyanne Erickson, Carol Enno and Paula Bear. This program increased awareness of the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity in an effort to combat the increasing incidence of obesity and metabolic disorders among the people of Fort Berthold Reservation.

Gearing Up for Kindergarten was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Sharon Query, Angela Berge, Patty Flaagan, Rita Ussatis, Diane Langer, Sean Brotherson, Divya Saxena, Deb Theurer, Holly Arnold, Ellen Dunlop, Ellen Crawford and Agnes Vernon. This program provided tools to parents to instill knowledge and confidence in their children in preparation for kindergarten. The program provided preschool and parent education classes, improved parents' access to information and partnered with organizations that work with young families to ensure programs focus on early literacy.

Farm Transition Planning was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Andrew Swenson, Dwight Aakre and Gene Elhard. This program fostered and improved communication among family members; helped farm families understand goal setting and the financial, legal and tax issues involved in farm transition planning; and offered encouragement and instilled confidence in families to proceed with the farm transition process.

Kids Get the Skinny on Whole Grains was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Colleen Svingen, Brenda Vertin, Deb Evanson and Elizabeth Freden. Richland County Extension staff partnered with teachers, afterschool program coordinators and 4-H leaders to reach every sixth-grade classroom, afterschool programs in seven schools and 4-H clubs with education on the importance of whole grains to address obesity in children.

Grants of $100,000+ Received

  • $1.2 million from USDA Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Debra Gebeke, PI.
  • $1 million from Northwest Area Foundation for Horizons Phase III. Lynette Flage, PI.
  • $237,842 from Environmental Protection Agency for Livestock Waste Educational Information and Assistant Program, Carrington. Ron Wiederholt, PI.
  • $134,375 from CSREES for Youth Development Specialist. Duane Hauck, PI.
  • $109,875 from Dakota West RC&D for Livestock Facilities Assistance Program: Livestock Waste Management Project. Nadine Radtke, PI.
  • $102,633 from CSREES for Extension Indian Reservation Program – Extension Position, Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Jon J. Fisher, PI.
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