NDSU Extension


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Biennial Budget

NDSU Extension Service 2013-2015 budget: $10.1M county, $28.0M state, $6.6M federal, $7.2M grants and contracts.

The legislature authorized for the biennium $1,900,000 ($950,000 state; $950,000 special funds) for the North Dakota 4-H Camp capital project. Most of the $950,000 in special funds were raised by the North Dakota 4-H Foundation through a privately-funded capital campaign by the end of May 2013.


  • Upon University approval, Extension Director's Office began providing one free NDSU green shirt with the NDSU Extension Service logo on it to the Extension employees who qualified for a uniform under NDSU guidelines, i.e. those who work in a public educator/service role in the public. Other employees have the option to purchase a shirt using personal funds. This was done to better promote the Extension brand to the public.

Program Highlights

Knowledge was extended to North Dakotans through 817,427 face-to-face and other direct contacts by NDSU Extension Service employees.

Over 300 people came out to hear what NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Associate Professor David Saxowsky, and Extension Agents Keith Brown, Calli Thorne, Marcia Hellandsaas and Andrea Bowman (and other professionals) had to say about the multitude of changes going on in Divide, McKenzie and Bowman counties due to the oil industry.  The primary focus of the meetings held Feb. 11 at Crosby, Feb. 12 at Watford City and Feb.13 at Bowman was oil and gas development from the perspective of mineral and land owners, however, mineral leasing, pipeline easements, surface damages, industry technologies, future county oil and gas projects, and other topics were also discussed. Participants gained a better understanding of considerations when leasing mineral rights or negotiating easements; the laws and statutes in North Dakota that govern oil and gas development, and options available if parties think they are not being treated fairly. They also learned about changes that have been made in the laws and statutes by the North Dakota legislature to address concerns such as surface owner rights and compensation, and why there are limitations to what the legislature can do.

Precision agriculture helps producers stay on the cutting edge of crop production. One of the latest ways NDSU is helping involves testing and demonstrating the effectiveness of in-field sensing for determining when and where to apply fertilizer. A crop sensor mounted on a fertilizer applicator shines red, green and near infrared light at plants to see how much light reflects back. The data goes into a computer in the tractor, which lets producers adjust their fertilizer spray applications. Applying the right amount of fertilizer where it’s needed saves money and reduces the potential for chemical runoff. (2013 Annual Highlights - John Nowatzki)

Shooting sports, part of the 4-H Environmental Project, educates youth about natural resources and wildlife, archery, black powder weaponry, pistol, rifle, shotgun and hunting. About 600 trained volunteer 4-H shooting sports instructors devote more than 2,000 hours to the program each year. Shooting sports events promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior, including sound decision making; teaches safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, self-discipline and concentration; and develops participation in natural resources and related natural science programs by exposing participants to the content through shooting, hunting and related activities. (2013 Annual Highlights - Adrian Biewer and NDSU Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development website)

North Dakota is expected to have 148,060 residents 65 and older by 2025. Three NDSU Extension Service programs focus on seniors’ well-being. One in three people 65 and older fall each year, and nearly half of all seniors who fall do not resume independent living. Stepping On is an international, evidence-based falls prevention program that NDSU Extension Service, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Health, offers across the state. Seniors learn strength and balance exercises, how to address home hazards, safe footwear, vision and how it relates to falls, and coping after a fall. The Livable Homes program helps older adults identify and correct home safety hazards and make home modifications to meet their physical needs. The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program gives caregivers tools, strategies and resources to care for a family member, friend or neighbor. North Dakota has 80,000 family caregivers; 28,000 of them care for a loved one with dementia. (2013 Annual Highlights - Jane Strommen and Dena Kemmet and 2015 Annual Highlights Deb Gebeke)

The Sioux County Extension program is growing veggies and youth skills. Through a federal specialty crop grant, volunteers helped start a community garden in Fort Yates. Since then the Extension agent and volunteers have built box gardens and four high-tunnel gardens. Community members help plant and tend the gardens, and harvest the produce. Some of the produce is sold at a weekly farmers market or donated to the school lunch and senior citizen nutrition programs, soup kitchen and food pantry. Additional grants have helped Solen High School students develop Sioux Image, an embroidery and silk screening business that opened in January 2013.  The students are learning high-level skills that will help with employment beyond high school. (2013 Annual Highlights - Sue Isbell)

Research shows that poverty is a key factor in food insecurity, or limited/uncertain access to nutritious, safe foods. Inadequate resources can lead families to buy high-calorie, low-nutrient, low-cost foods instead of more healthful options. Poor diets can increase people’s risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) provides a series of lessons for limited-resource adults with children in the household. The lessons help them improve their nutrition knowledge, physical activity and food safety practices, and stretch their food dollars. EFNEP also encourages youth to eat more fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy projects, and become more physically active. Extension’s Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is for individuals and families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Participants learn about nutrition; food selection, handling and preparation; and shopping wisely. (2013 Annual Highlights - Megan Ness)

NDSU Extension Service crop and soil specialists are updating nitrogen application recommendations for corn. For four years, NDSU researchers gathered nitrogen (N) data from 80 trials statewide. They discovered nitrogen’s behavior in soils varies across the state. Nitrogen loss was very high in the Red River Valley’s high-clay soils after heavy rains in May and June. This indicated the need for different recommendations for high-clay soils and different application.  Several producers are following the new recommendations with good results. Specialists also encourage long-term, no-till or one-pass seeding, as corn doesn’t need as much N with those practices. (2013 Annual Highlights - Dave Franzen)

Hundreds of youth discover gardening through NDSU Extension Service’s Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program. Youth develop an interest in gardening as well as leadership skills and responsibility, and community involvement. Master Gardener volunteers, classroom teachers and Extension agents team up to teach the youth. In 2013, 28 youth and 12 adults landscaped and planted square-foot gardens for a child-care center in Bowman. A JMG grant supported construction of four raised garden beds at Mount Pleasant School in Rolla providing elementary students there with a living classroom. Ward County youth planted trees in Minot’s Oak Park, which was destroyed during the 2011 Souris River Flood. (2013 Annual Highlights - Dean Aakre)

Ongoing initiatives to improve the environment by educating the state’s livestock producers on nutrient management include helping producers start and maintain manure composting piles; providing insight on marketing opportunities and business plans for producers who want to start a composting operation; and connecting producers from across the state to encourage them to learn nutrient management techniques from each other. Other efforts include a publication on the importance of controlling runoff from feedlots; demonstration compost piles at the Carrington Research Extension Center (REC); carcass disposal compost piles at the Carrington and Central Grasslands RECs for educational tours; on-farm manure sampling to show producers the fertilizer value of their livestock manure; and manure spreader calibration to make sure producers are spreading manure on their fields at the correct agronomic rates. (2013 Annual Highlights - Mary Berg, Shafiqur Rahman and Tom Scherer)

Extension agents in six western North Dakota counties collected 28 water samples per county from wells, ponds, rivers and creeks from May to mid-August and sent them to the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for basic analysis. The quality of the water tested ranged from very good to so toxic that producers were advised to stop letting their livestock drink it. Natural salts and sulfates, as a result of the geological formation of North Dakota, can result in poorer-quality water. High pH can indicate industrial contamination. The analysis wasn’t detailed enough to determine whether the contamination was from oil development or other area industries. The project provided valuable information to help producers make management decisions. (2013 Annual Highlights - Michelle Mostrom, Carl Dahlen and Charles Stoltenow)

Childhood obesity and lack of calcium puts youth at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer. A calcium shortage during childhood increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that leads to weak bones in adulthood. NDSU Extension Service partners with schools statewide to reduce the risk through three main programs. On the Move the Better Health is a five-week curriculum for fifth-graders that aims to increase fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods in children’s diets and improve their fitness habits. Banking on Strong Bones is a five-week program for fourth-graders. It includes classroom nutrition lessons, educational materials in libraries, supplementary activities and taste testing. Go Wild With Fruits and Veggies is a seven-week program targeting third-graders. Six wild animal characters are role models that reinforce the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and participating in physical activity every day. (2013 Annual Highlights - Julie Garden-Robinson and Abby Gold)

A Farm Fuel Budget app was developed for crop producers to compare projected fuel costs and use based on alternate crop acreages, tillage systems and crop rotations. The app is available on the Google Play website. (2013 Annual Highlights - John Nowatzki)

Teens Serving Food Safely was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Julie Garden-Robinson, Kimberly Beauchamp, Stacy Wang and Scott Swanson. Unsafe food and improper handling are likely causes of foodborne illness. Teen food handlers play a major role in preparing food at home and in commercial food service establishments. NDSU Extension Service teamed up with high school family and consumer sciences teachers to deliver the Teens Serving Food Safely program. Between 2003 and 2013, 8,233 youth have learned the four steps to food safety: clean, separate/don't cross contaminate, cook and chill.

Outdoor Activities for Youth: An Outreach Opportunity was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Kari Helgoe, Helen Volk-Schill, Tara Sondeland, Samantha Lahman and Amy Chally. To encourage 8- to 12-year-old youth to experience nature and be more active, Extension agents in Walsh and Pembina counties conducted an outdoor day camp where youth learned about outdoor skills, safety, conservation, fishing and outdoor shooting activities. Extension agents; experts from the N.D. Parks and Recreation and N.D. Game and Fish departments; and 4-H adult volunteers, ambassadors and junior leaders lead the hands-on activities.

Horticulture and Forestry Training for Extension Agents was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Tom Kalb, Joe Zeleznik, Esther McGinnis, Todd Weinmann, Jackie Buckley and Steve Sagaser. To address the need of more Extension agents having basic knowledge and skills in horticulture and forestry topics, a two-pronged approach was taken. The award team members provided daily Facebook entries, weekly blog posts and a weekly Web conference. The Horticulture and Forestry Program Team also provided Facebook and blog entries in addition to a one-hour weekend Web conference for agents. A summary of the web conferences and supplementary information was compiled and distributed via the groups' listserv and to other interested Extension professionals.

Grow It, Try It, Like It! was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Jean Noland, Carrie Knutson, Donna Bernhardt, Linda Kuster and Katie Johnke. NDSU Extension Service collaborated with Grand Forks County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) officials to help families learn how to incorporate fresh produce in their diet thus use the full amount of their fruit and vegetable vouchers. Local Boy Scouts constructed raised garden beds for preschoolers in WIC to grow tomatoes, onions, radishes, peppers, carrots, peas and lettuce. More than 100 children and their families participated.

Grants of $100,000+ Received

  • $1.2 million from USDA Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Debra Gebeke, PI.
  • $675,000 from N.D. Department of Public Instruction for Gearing Up for Kindergarten. Debra Gebeke, PI.
  • $196,205 from USDA-NIFA for Nourishing Boomers and Beyond: Improving the Health Behaviors of Adults Living in Rural North Dakota. Julie Garden-Robinson, PI.
  • $156,698 from University of Minnesota for Sugarbeet Specialists. Charles Stoltenow, PI.
  • $120,000 from CSREES for North Dakota 4-H SET for the Future Sustainable Community Project. Sharon Query, PI.
  • $117,618 from Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for Area Agronomist for the Prairie Pothole Region. John Lukach, PI.
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