NDSU Extension


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  • An onsite USDA civil rights review of the NDSU Extension Service was scheduled to be done in June but was cancelled by USDA to be rescheduled for the future date.      
  • To address budget cuts, a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program was implemented at NDSU on June 20. The goals were to reduce salary costs, increase flexibility to redirect positions, if needed, and to minimize involuntary terminations while fulfilling our mission. Specific terms applied.
  • A special session of the North Dakota Legislature was called to address the most recent budget forecast of a $310 million shortfall in the general fund for the remainder of the 2015-2017 biennium. It began Aug. 2 and ended Aug. 4. NDSU Extension Service received the same 2.5% additional budget reduction for this biennium as the majority of other state agencies. For Extension, the 2.5% reduction equaled $744,705. To reach the new budget level for the remaining 11 months of the biennium, Extension continued to freeze specific vacant positions and held back on other operating and professional development expenses.
  • In October, North Dakota Joint Council of Extension Professionals approved new guidelines for county Extension office leadership, changing “county chair” to “county coordinator.” Offices with more than one agent now share the leadership role on a rotational basis.
  • A 40 x 104 pole building with 14 x 80 lean-to was constructed at the North Dakota 4-H Camp. The building, funded by donations, is used for a combination of livestock, equine and shooting sports, and indoor archery.

Program Highlights

Knowledge was extended to North Dakotans through 949,431 face-to-face and other direct contacts by NDSU Extension Service employees.

NDSU Extension Service’s Integrated Pest Management program gathers current pest information through six trained scouts working out of North Dakota’s Research Extension Centers (RECs). The scouts regularly monitor fields throughout the growing season to detect insect pests and diseases, and determine where they’re concentrated and the damage they’ve caused. The program relays this information through a weekly Crop and Pest Report, producer meetings, REC field days, news releases, radio programs, social media and more. (2016 Annual Highlights - Janet Knodel and Patrick Beauzay)

Cover crop demonstration projects are one way NDSU Extension Service is helping producers learn more about sustainable agricultural practices. Many strategies have been explored such as planting cover crops in saline areas of fields with excess moisture, and following wheat harvest, as well as planting different cover crop mixes and grazing cover crops. The practices can increase yields, benefit livestock and leave a smaller footprint on the environment. (2016 Annual Highlights - Brad Brummond)

The Beef Quality Assurance program is a national producer-driven program. In North Dakota, it’s a collaborative effort of the NDSU Extension Service and the North Dakota Beef Commission. It helps cattle producers improve their management practices so they provide healthful, high-quality beef free from defects such as injection-site lesions and bruises. This increases the cattle’s market value while instilling consumer confidence in the beef industry. (2016 Annual Highlights - Lisa Pederson)

High resolution imagery from a Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with a 35-foot wingspan was used to collect data on crop stand counts, nitrogen effectiveness, iron chlorosis deficiency and crop yields, and to inventory pastured cattle at altitudes of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. Elbit Systems Ltd. of Israel provided the UAS for the project. Extension specialists, Extension agents and N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station scientists led the project. The imagery was compared to data gathered by small UAC, satellites, in-field observations, on-the-ground sensors and soil analyses. (2016 Annual Highlights - Sreekala Bajwa, John Nowatzki, Angie Johnson and Alyssa Scheve)

The Livestock and Environmental Stewardship program focuses on research and Extension education to broaden the knowledge of livestock producers on livestock and environmental interactions, sustainability and producing animal products for a world with a rapidly growing population. Educational programs include understanding the veterinary feed directive, determining carrying capacity and stocking rates for range and pasture in North Dakota, using the North Dakota Grazing Monitoring Stick to measure range and pasture utilization, livestock water quality, animal health, animal handling, and bridging the gap between the public perception and today’s livestock industry. (2016 Annual Highlights - Gerald Stokka and Miranda Meehan)

Producers find NDSU Extension Service’s farm management and planning tools helpful in making decisions about planting to farm bill program enrollment and everything in between. The tools include annual crop budgets that are developed each year for nine regions in the state. Producers input their own numbers and can complete a whole-farm cash-flow scenario using the budgets. Other tools include Crop Compare, prevent planting analysis and farm bill calculator. (2016 Annual Highlights - Andrew Swenson)

NDSU Extension Service is helping bridge the gap with education among farmers who struggle with marketing their produce to make a profit, consumers interested in eating locally grown food but know little of what that means, and other consumers who know about local foods but have no access to affordable fresh produce. (2016 Annual Highlights - Glenn Muske)

Communities often struggle with strengthening their economy. To assist them, Extension partnered with USDA Rural Development on the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program. The idea is for communities to work collaboratively on an economic development plan to build on the region’s current and emerging economic strengths. (2016 Annual Highlights - Lynette Flage)

Shooting Sports is one of North Dakota’s fastest-growing 4-H programs, but agriculture and livestock programs remain among the most popular. Learning about the animals is a draw and so is family tradition. Youth can develop a relationship with an animal, share a common interest and engage in competition with other youth, and realize a sense of accomplishment. Number of 4-H members enrolled in animal projects in 2015-16: 1,191 beef, 150 dairy, 551 goat, 1,067 horse, 783 pets, 594 poultry, 677 rabbit, 566 sheep and 552 swine. (2016 Annual Highlights - Dean Aakre)

The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, North Dakota Department of Agriculture and NDSU Extension Service partnered in stewardship and promotion of the North Dakota Centennial Farms program. The purpose of the program is to showcase the rich heritage of North Dakota's family farms through a display at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and a website. Agents promoted the program; farmers contacted them to find out if they qualify for the designation and to complete an application form. A database of farms was then built and included in the display and website. As more information on each farm's story becomes available, it is added to the display and website.

Gearing Up for Kindergarten (GUFK) is a multiweek program to help all parents and their children with the transition to kindergarten. Children learn school readiness skills, such as playing with others and taking turns, sensory and motor development, reading, math and science, while parents learn about parenting styles, children’s learning styles, brain development and discipline. Research indicates that basic academic and social skills are three times higher among children who complete GUFK. The program is also very cost-effective: $350 per student vs. $1,350 for remediation later. Over 1,000 families have participated since the program began in 2006. The 2011 state legislature provided $500,000 for implementing the programs in schools and $125,000 for administration. A program coordinator works with Extension’s eight Family and Parent Resource Centers to promote the program and train the instructors. (2016 and 2012 Annual Highlights - Sean Brotherson and Judith Konerza)

Agriculture is North Dakota’s #1 industry, yet fewer and fewer youth and adults have been on a farm or know where food comes from and how it’s produced. To help make those connections, Extension agents throughout the state have programs for students such as Ag in the Gym, Bread in the Bag, Kids and Compost, Living Ag Classroom and Special Assignment: Pizza. (2016 Annual Highlights - Mary Berg, Joel Lemer, Lindsay Maddock and Julie Garden-Robinson)

Watch Me Grow was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Kayla Bakewell, Willie Huot, Michael Knudson, Linda Kuster, Jean Noland, Steve Sagaser, Molly Soeby, Nancy Smith, Linda Hammen and Carole Hadlich. This program was developed in response to citizen input to deliver education on container gardening and nutrition while providing for family and community engagement. The communities of Northwood and Larimore, and Head Start youth and their families participated.

Kids, Compost, Crops and Consumption was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Alicia Harstad, Kelcey Hoffmann, Nikki Johnson, Linda Schuster, Stacy Wang and Todd Weinmann. The program taught third- and fourth-grade youth about education, agricultural production and the origin of their food. Six monthly lessons focused on different parts of the food cycle, students were provided a garden box and supplies to grow spinach, and every lesson promoted daily physical activity.

Field to Fork: Enhancing the Safe Use of North Dakota Specialty Crops was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Julie Garden-Robinson, Stacy Wang, Bob Bertsch, Deb Tanner, Ellen Crawford, Scott Swanson, Tom Kalb, Esther McGinnis, Clifford Hall, Todd Weinmann, Glenn Muske, Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske and David Saxowsky. The program, which included 14 webinars, a comprehensive website, online mini-course and handouts for use at farmers markets, was designed to enhance knowledge and safe food handling of specialty fruit and vegetable crops from field to table.

Ditch Hay Program was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Carl Dahlen, Miranda Meehan, Fara Brummer, Kevin Sedivec, Karl Hoppe, John Dhuyvetter, Danielle Steinhoff, Paige Brummund, Yolanda Schmidt, Mark Miller, Katelyn Hain, Bradley Brummond, Kelcey Hoffmann, Megan Vig, Angela Johnson, Brian Zimprich, Breana Kiser, Nicole Wardner, Timothy Becker, Lindsay Maddock, Joel Lemer, Kelsie Egeland, Ashley Stegeman, Sheldon Gerhardt, Crystal Schaunaman, Craig Askim, Katie Wirt, Jackie Buckley, Richard Schmidt, Duaine Marxen, Becky Buchmann and Kurt Froelich. To address a need for information on the nutrient quality and sustainability of ditch hay as livestock feed, a sampling of hay from road ditches in 29 counties was analyzed. Agents reported the findings to the participating producers and developed presentations to disseminate the results to others on understanding the variation in the ditch hay's nutrient content, factors to impact the quality of ditch hay, such as road dust, and the importance of forage testing.

Grants of $100,000+ Received

  • $1.5 million in January and $1.4 million in November from USDA Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Debra Gebeke, PI. 
  • $332,307 from USDA NIFA for Potato Specialist, Sugarbeet Specialist, Sheep Specialist, Area Community Health and Nutrition Specialist, and Administrative Secretary. Chris Boerboom, PI.
  • $202,860 from Department of Justice for 4-H National Mentoring Program 6: Standing Rock, Sioux County. Brad Cogdill, PI. 
  • $200,000 from Bush Foundation for Ecosystem. Lynette Flage, PI.
  • $196,649 from North Central Soybean Research Program for Second SCN Coalition: Resistance Management and Awareness Campaign. Sam Markell, PI.
  • $109,905 from Margaret A. Cargill Foundation for Environmental Education Youth Camping. Brad Cogdill, PI.
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