NDSU Extension


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Personnel listing from Jan. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2018 (PDF)


  • After extensive study and successful use by NDSU Extension’s Family Nutrition Program, the Program Evaluation and Reporting System (PEARS) was implemented organization wide on Jan. 1. PEARS will enhance Extension's ability to plan and develop programs, and report impacts.
  • The Family and Consumer Sciences and the Community Vitality program areas were consolidated into Family and Community Wellness on Jan. 1.
  • As part of SBARE’s review of Extension, the N.D. County Commissioner Association Board of Directors approved a revision to the base policy that describes the cost-share funding of Extension agents. A 40 percent county/60 percent Extension cost sharing of total agent compensation (salary and fringe benefits) will be implemented in 2019. This base policy change is uniform across all counties.
  • The title of "area specialist" was changed to "specialist" organization-wide on April 1. This was done to address a misperception that these positions were restricted by boundaries of place rather than serving statewide needs.
  • Though the organization's name remains as North Dakota State University Extension Service in the North Dakota Century Code, authorization was received to begin doing business as NDSU Extension on May 1. NDSU Extension matches what many in the public already use to identify the organization, it is more concise for marketing and branding, and it may lessen confusion about NDSU Extension's role compared to the service-providing role of other agencies in North Dakota.
  • With input from Extension staff and the Citizen Advisory Council, a new mission statement was launched on May 1 to: "Empower North Dakotans to improve their lives and communities through science-based education." In this statement, “communities” represents communities of place (e.g. a rural community) as well as communities of practice (e.g. ranchers). The mission statement replaced the purpose statement "to create learning partnerships that help adults and youth enhance their lives and communities."
  • Also with input from the Citizen Advisory Council, a set of core values was established for how we serve our external audiences. They are: We believe in lifelong learning through transformational education; that all people belong and deserve respect; in stakeholder input to guide program development; in science-based, locally relevant information; and in the value of partners and collaboration.
  • Chris Boerboom, NDSU Extension director, retired July 2 after an eight-year career with NDSU Extension. Appointments leading up to his appointment as director on June 1, 2012 are interim director (Jan. 1-May 31, 2012), and agriculture and natural resources assistant director and district director for Barnes, Dickey, LaMoure, Ransom and Sargent counties (Jan. 11, 2010-Dec. 31, 2012). Prior to joining NDSU, Dr. Boerboom was an Extension weed specialist, first with Washington State University for four years (1989-1994) then with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 15 years (1994-2009).
  • Following an internal search, Greg Lardy, Animal Sciences department head and associate vice president for Agricultural Affairs, was appointed NDSU Extension interim director effective July 3. He retained his role as associate vice president. A month later, upon Ken Grafton's (vice president for Agricultural Affairs) appointment as interim provost, Dr. Lardy was also appointed acting director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • In September, NDSU Extension announced an innovation grants program for staff to bolster innovation in existing educational programs. Requests for proposals were sought that embrace new ideas, technologies, policies and procedures that increase Extension’s effectiveness in transformational education. Six proposals were funded.
  • A soft launch of a new homepage and level two topic area pages of the NDSU Extension website took place on Oct. 22.
  • Chris Boerboom, former NDSU Extension director, and Kendall Nichols, former NDSU Extension Service agent in Grand Forks and Traill counties, were recognized with an Epsilon Sigma Phi, Upsilon Chapter, Friend of Extension Award.
  • Sharon Anderson, former NDSU Extension director, was honored with the 2018 Agribusiness Award at NDSU Harvest Bowl on Nov. 2. Myron Johnsrud and Walt Ness were also recipients in 2002 and 1999, respectively.
  • On Nov. 20, another Voluntary Separation Incentive Program was offered by NDSU. Specific terms apply.

Program Highlights

Palmer amaranth, a very aggressive weed, was found in North Dakota for the first time in 2018. It isn’t the only concerning weed. Looking ahead, Extension specialists involved with weed issues have named stinkgrass the weed of the year for 2019. Like Palmer amaranth, it’s difficult to control. Other worrisome weeds include kochia, waterhemp, marestail and common ragweed because of their resistance to glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. To combat the growing weed problem, agents and specialists work with producers to determine which control methods, whether chemical (herbicides), mechanical (tillage) or cultural (planting cover crops), or combination of them are the best options. (2018 Annual Highlights - Tom Peters, Brian Jenks, Greg Endres, Clair Keene, Alicia Harstad and Beth Burdolski)

Despite NDSU Extension efforts to make known the potential problems if the herbicide, dicamba, reached non dicamba-tolerant soybeans, drift damaged 250,000 soybean acres in North Dakota in 2017. Extension agents helped producers document their losses, and Extension advised the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) on rules to mitigate problems in 2018. They also collaborated on a white paper to help the EPA create new information on preparing, using and storing dicamba safely. In addition, Extension created a dicamba training verification system to ensure compliance with new specialized training requirements. For the following reasons, 2018 was a better year: Extension and NDDA educational efforts were working, more producers planted dicamba-tolerant DT soybeans and the weather cooperated during peak spraying times, keeping dicamba from drifting. (2018 Annual Highlights - Andrew Thostenson, Randy Grueneich and Julianne Racine)

Oil production benefits North Dakota, but it also causes ecological problems such as oil and saltwater (brine) spills that impact soil health, agricultural production, rangeland and wildlife. In response, NDSU Extension collaborated with Dickinson State University, the Society for Range Management, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and BKS Environmental Associates to host the North Dakota Reclamation Conference for the last six years. Experts share case studies on reclamation methods, and research on soil remediation, vegetation establishment in affected areas and spill cleanup. Extension has also hosted information discussions in western North Dakota to give landowners and gas and oil industry representatives opportunities to discuss how to reduce spills, improved spill detection technology and who is responsible for inspecting pipelines. (2018 Annual Highlights - Kevin Sedivec and Miranda Meehan)

In response to the U.S. trade dispute with China and no export sales of soybeans being booked out of Pacific Northwest ports to China, Extension specialists took a three-pronged approach to help producers. Through news releases, podcasts, mass media interviews, social media posts and other outlets, they shared the market situation and soybean storage options, and offered ideas to producers on how to cope with the stress this brings. NDSU Extension also created a new website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/alerts for up-to-date information on quickly emerging topics such as these. (2018 Annual Highlights - Frayne Olson, Ken Hellevang and Sean Brotherson)

Increasing U.S. inventories, record high meat production, trade agreement negotiations and tariff disputes contributed to livestock price volatility in 2018. To help offset the uncertainty, NDSU Extension agricultural economics and livestock specialists educated producers about Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance from USDA’s Risk Management Agency. LRP was developed to protect livestock producers from catastrophic price declines for livestock they will market in the future. The insurance is available for feeder and fed steers and heifers, market swine and lambs. From July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, North Dakota livestock producers insured 5,965 lambs, 3,448 feeder cattle and 574 fed cattle, and received a total of $242,305. (2018 Annual Highlights - Tim Petry)

#Adulting is a new program for emerging adults ages 17 to 25. The program eases the transition to adulthood by helping young adults learn about selecting the right housing and paying for it, calculating rental start-up costs, preparing a budget, winter travel safety and choosing healthful food options. The program was piloted with a group of first-year students in NDSU’s Seim Hall Living and Learning Community in 2017 and was expanded to the rest of the campus and statewide in 2018. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram helps reach this age group. (2018 Annual Highlights Nikki Johnson, Carrie Johnson and Stacy Wang)

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist known for his wacky inventions in his cartoons. Now, a Rube Goldberg contraption is a complex device made of everyday items that does a simple task. It’s also the basis for the Rube Goldberg Challenge, a new 4-H program that encourages critical thinking, creativity, innovation and problem solving in youth from fourth through 12th grade. In 2018, the program’s first year, 15 North Dakota 4-H teams used their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) knowledge to solve a toothpaste-on-a-toothbrush puzzle at the county level; six of those teams competed at the North Dakota State Fair. (2018 Annual Highlights - Acacia Stuckle)

North Dakota 4-H is engaging youth in STEM through a $23,000 Microsoft grant. The grant allows older 4-H youth to plan and lead digital activities for elementary and middle school students. In 2018, the older 4-H’ers worked weekly with students from two middle schools – Fargo’s Carl Ben Eielson and West Fargo’s Cheney – and Fargo’s CHARISM program on computer science activities. The 4-H’ers were also involved in Microsoft’s Hour of Code computer coding event for elementary students at Kindred School. (2018 Annual Highlights - Lindsey Leker)

As drought lingered into 2018, agents continued to report the conditions in their county on an online drought monitoring form that Extension specialists created. The agents’ data helped determine official drought severity designations, which the Farm Service Agency uses as a basis for disaster payments. Extension specialists and agents also warned that cattle producers would likely see a reduction in forage on their pastures and rangeland because of the drought, and that water remaining in ponds and dugouts might not be good for cattle. At the same time, demand for knowledge about how to manage subsurface water by using tile to remove excess water early in the growing season and then using control structures to retain the water for later use by the crop was so high in 2018 that a second annual tile drainage design workshop was added. Improving the state’s water quality by educating producers on proper livestock manure-handling techniques and facilities was also addressed. Agents and specialists encouraged producers to use livestock manure as a high-quality fertilizer for crops. (2018 Annual Highlights - Rick Schmidt, Hans Kandel, Tom Scherer, Mary Keena and Miranda Meehan)

North Dakota has about 92 million green ash trees. Green ash replaced diseased elm trees and makes up 35 to 80 percent of urban forests. Emerald ash borer (EAB), which was first discovered in the U.S. near Detroit, Mich., in 2002, has killed millions of ash trees elsewhere in the U.S. EAB likely arrived from China in a shipping crate. The NDSU Extension forester collaborates with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and North Dakota Forest Service (NDFS) to equip North Dakotans to detect emerald ash borer (EAB) as early as possible and diversify tree populations before the pest arrives. He has co-trained more than 250 natural resources professionals to become early detectors. The small, metallic green beetle spread from Michigan, mainly by people moving infested firewood. To delay EAB’s arrival, Zeleznik reminds everyone to buy firewood where they burn it. (2018 Annual Highlights - Joe Zeleznik)

Sioux County has the state’s lowest average high school graduation rate, and 72.4 percent of youth birth to age 17 live in poverty. Since 2012, NDSU Extension’s Center for 4-H Youth Development has received grants annually from the National 4-H Council to implement Youth and Families With Promise, a mentoring program designed to reduce youth delinquency and strengthen at-risk students’ academic and social skills. The mentoring project appears to be contributing to the increase in graduation rates and students pursuing post-secondary education. Youth possess more confidence and business-related skills, according to annual program surveys. Many youth are mentoring younger students. A ripple effect has also emerged, with parents, grandparents and community members feeling pride in the students’ progress. Youth are leading efforts to make community changes, including operating a local gymnasium, starting an anti-bullying project, beginning a school recycling program and hosting a community 5K race. (2018 Annual Highlights - Sue Isbell)

After more than 40 years, NDSU Extension has drastically revised its soil fertility recommendations for sunflowers, which will translate into considerable cost savings for producers. An Extension soil science specialist and students spent two growing seasons conducting nitrogen and phosphorus application rate studies at 30 sites on cooperating producers’ farms statewide. The National Sunflower Association provided $100,000 for the research. They found that phosphate is not a factor in increasing yield, so application of phosphorus is no longer recommended. This will save North Dakota producers an estimated $18 million annually in fertilizer expense. Also found is that nitrogen rate and yield are not related between fields or years. NDSU Extension’s North Dakota Sunflower Nitrogen Calculator helps producers determine the right application rate for their farm. The calculator is available online at www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/soils/sunflower/ and as an app for Android and Apple devices. North Dakota is the second largest sunflower producer in the U.S. (2018 Annual Highlights - Dave Franzen)

An estimated 198,000 North Dakotans have prediabetes, or sugar levels that are above normal but not high enough to be diabetes. Diabetes costs North Dakota $902 million annually. NDSU Extension agents in 17 counties are helping prediabetic adults delay or prevent diabetes through the Diabetes Prevention Program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designed the community program, which promotes weight loss of 5 to 7 percent through long-term healthful eating and 150 minutes of physical activity weekly. Participants meet weekly for 16 weeks, then monthly for eight months. The focus is on lifestyle change. The class is offered free or at a nominal fee. (2018 Annual Highlights - Nikki Johnson)

Palmer Amaranth Weed Watch: From Bus Tour to Raising Awareness in North Dakota was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Tom Peters, Alicia Harstad, Bill Hodous, Craig Askim, Tim Becker, Lindy Berg, Brad Brummond, Paige Brummund, Anitha Chirumamilla, Calla Edwards, Kelsie Egeland, Greg Endres, Sheldon Gerhardt, Randy Grueneich, Katelyn Hain, Sam Haugen, Brian Jenks, Angie Johnson, Clair Keene, Breana Kiser, Scott Knoke, Samantha Lahman, Chandra Langseth, Joel Lemer, Lindsay Maddock, Duaine Marxen, Cindy Olson, Julianne Racine, Crystal Schaunaman, Alyssa Scheve, Rick Schmidt, Yolanda Schmidt, Melissa Seykora, Rachel Wald, Nicole Wardner, Katie Wirt and Brian Zimprich. Palmer amaranth is a very aggressive, hard-to-control weed. Early identification is vital to reduce economic losses in North Dakota. NDSU Extension specialists and agents traveled to Nebraska to learn about Palmer amaranth identification and management from University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension staff, local agronomists and farmers. This team then developed teaching materials, and a train-the-trainer workshop for NDSU Extension staff was held in January 2018. As of Oct. 26, 2018, Palmer amaranth had been confirmed in five North Dakota counties. During the 2017-18 meeting season, Extension specialists and agents raised awareness of Palmer amaranth's potential economic impact to North Dakota and how to identify the weed.

Healthwise for Guys was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Julie Garden-Robinson, Kristi Berdal, Cindy Klapperich, Ellen Crawford, Bob Bertsch and David Haasser. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, North Dakota men have a higher rate of skin, colon and prostate cancer than the national average. Healthwise for Guys, NDSU Extension's first men-specific health program, includes a website, fact sheets, displays, presentations and men's health toolkits. In the first six months of the program, nearly 800 men aged 18 and older participated.

North Dakota Soil and Watershed Leadership Academy was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team members were Bruce Schmidt, Andrea Bowman, Marie Hvidsten, Katelyn Hain and Jodi Bruns. North Dakota Soil Conservation districts struggle to fill board positions with qualified board members, and existing board members indicate they want to become more effective. NDSU Extension partnered with the N.D. Department of Health's Water Quality Division to develop the academy to increase the capacity of North Dakota's soil conservation and watershed leaders to lead watershed and community-based projects that will protect water quality for future generations.

On the Move to Better Health Kids Cooking School was recognized with a Program Excellence Award. Extension team member were Julie Garden-Robinson, Mary Jean Hunter, Molly Soeby, MaKayla Heinz, Carrie Knutson, Linda Kuster, Karen Armstrong, Vicky Arvidson, Sara Laite, Lu Morehouse, Donna Anderson, Jamie Medbery, Michelle Effertz, Mariam Said, Nicole Smith, Dena Kemmet, Cindy Klapperich, Deb Lee, Vanessa Hoines, Trisha Jessen, Kimberly Fox, Deb Johnson, Macine Lukach, Kayla Carlson, Ronda Gripentrog, Susan Milender and Rita Ussatis. The program consists of eight hands-on lessons that can be delivered in camp settings or after-school programs, or as weekly lessons. Each lesson has its own objectives, key concepts, physical activities, worksheets, associated recipes, a parent newsletter and evaluation tools. Lesson topics include measuring recipe ingredients, reading recipes, identifying and using kitchen equipment, safe food handling, reading nutrition labels, meal planning, and hands-on cooking and baking. Nearly 975 children from 18 counties have participated in the program.

Grants of $100,000+ Received          

  • $1.2 million from USDA Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Lynette Flage, PI.
  • $938,390 from Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Megan Ditterick, PI.
  • $586,880 from United Soybean Board for Expanding the SCN Coalition. Sam Markell, PI.
  • $568,750 from Centers for Disease Control for Promoting Health Outcomes through Indigenous Food Systems. Megan Ditterick, PI.
  • $342,320 from USDA NIFA for Joint Specialist Positions with University of Minnesota and Administrative Secretary. Gregory Lardy, PI.
  • $320,223 from Natural Resources Conservation Service for North Dakota Conservation and Watershed Leadership Program. Bruce Schmidt, PI.
  • $300,000 from North Central Soybean Research Program for Expanding the SCN Coalition. Sam Markell, PI.
  • $275,000 from United Soybean Board for Implementing the Second SCN Coalition: Resistance Management and Awareness Campaign. Sam Markell, PI.
  • $205,000 from Bush Foundation for Bush Foundation Ecosystem Grant. Lynette Flage, PI.
  • $188,186 from Food and Nutrition Service for North Dakota Family Nutrition Program. Megan Ditterick, PI.
  • $179,313 from USDA NIFA for Extension Integrated Pest Management Program in North Dakota. Janet Knodel, PI.
  • $136,164 from National Science Foundation for Collaborative Research : A Paleohydrological Assessment. Joe Zeleznik, PI.
  • $113,415 from Department of Justice for 4-H National Mentoring Program 8. Brad Cogdill, PI.
  • $113,335 from Agriculture Marketing Service for Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Farm Bill Activities. Esther McGinnis, PI.
  • $110,873 from USDA NIFA for Protecting the Homestead: Opioid Misuse Prevention in the Dakotas. Megan Scott, PI.
  • $108,000 from S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation for 2017-2018 Common Measures Challenge Cohort Wave 1 Pilot States. Meagan Scott, PI.
  • $100,576 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services for Expanding the Homestead: Technical Assistance to Prevent Opioid Misuse. Meagan Scott, PI.
  • $100,000 from Centers for Disease Control for National Diabetes Prevention Program. Nikki Johnson, PI.
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