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J. F. Carter

(the following information is taken from Dr. Carter's nomination form)

Contributions made to North Dakota’s agricultural industry by
Dr. Jack F. Carter

Jack F. Carter

1950 - 60: Dr. Carter’s appointment at NDSU was 50% research and 50% teaching which also meant unlimited extension work. The teaching assignment was to teach undergraduates, mostly from farms in North Dakota, who primarily returned to the farm or became county agents or instructors of vocational agriculture. He taught Introduction to Agronomy, Forage Crops, and Grain Grading seminars for graduate students and for undergraduate students; and a "Short Course" in Forage Crops in winter to part-time students.

Dr. Carter began the forage crops research at the ND Agricultural Experiment Station on campus and at all branch stations from NDSU, or cooperatively at Dickinson, Williston, Minot and Hettinger. He conducted cooperative pasture grazing trials with Animal Science at Fargo using regional research funds. This project was written by Dr. Carter and was the first regional research project written and approved from NDSU. Much useful research was done and many results were immediately applicable in North Dakota agriculture, more diversified than now. The regional research led to a pioneering procedure to determine the amount and digestibility of forage, grasses and legumes, consumed by animals on pasture.

Seed production of grasses and legumes also was evaluated by him for North Dakota. Many farmers produced grass seeds and legume seeds, especially of birdsfoot trefoil, red clover and alfalfa, as a cash crop for many years (1960’s to 1980’s).

1960 - 87: Dr. Carter became Chairman of Agronomy, July 1, 1960. Agronomy consisted of a small faculty in crop breeding and genetics. The department chairman is to lead the department in many ways, but very important is (1) to provide a high quality , adequate curriculum for students to allow them to compete with their peers from any university; (2) take opportunities to provide the best possible and broadest program for research, teaching and extension; (3) provide the tools, i.e., resources, for faculty and staff to do their job, and (4) hire the best possible faculty, staff, and graduate students that resources permit.

In 1960, Agronomy had six faculty, two or three technicians, two or three secretaries and two or three graduate students at the MS level only. In 1987 when Dr. Carter retired, there were forty faculty, four full-time Graduate Research Fellows, seven secretaries, 29 technicians, and 68 graduate students from the U.S. and 17 foreign countries. Agronomy had a peak of 84 graduate students at one time. Graduate students are important for at least three reasons (1) to train agronomists for the future, (2) provide more "hands" for professors, and (3) a graduate program is needed to attract the best candidates to the faculty. About 25% of the graduate students were supported by outside funds such as Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, AID, AFGRAD, the governments of their country, etc. About 12 GRA's were supported by state appropriated funds. Dr. Carter single-handedly obtained most of the outside support funds.

The late 1960’s through the mid 1980’s were favorable years for Agronomy and NDSU to expand. The legislature recognized the importance of the crop agriculture enterprise and provided the needed funds. The Board of Higher Education and the NDSU administration supported expansion of the service of Agronomy to N.D. agriculture. Commodity organizations were being formed and providing commodity support. The situation was favorable for Agronomy to expand its service to North Dakota. Dr. Carter responded with expansion of crop breeding programs, namely: retaining corn breeding; starting projects in breeding of soybeans, dry beans, two rowed barley, hybrid wheat, hard red winter wheat, oats, and sunflower for bird and insect resistance. Supplemental genetics and cytogenetics projects were started in hard red spring wheat and barley, and in crop physiology and biotechnology. Most of the new projects added led to major alternative crops in North Dakota, e.g., soybean, dry beans, winter wheat. A Regional Research Project was written in Weed Control in 1962 and the first full-time weed control scientist was added to the Agronomy faculty. Three more weed control specialists were added later, including postdocs on control of wild oats. Two extension specialists were added - one in weed control science, an urgently needed service to crop agriculture in North Dakota.

One of the most important positions Dr. Carter added in 1960 was a Foundation Seedstocks Specialist to the Agronomy Department, a duty formerly performed part-time by the chairman. This position has returned great benefits to crop agriculture as a rapid increase of new seed varieties at a reasonable cost, and improvement of the quality of the seed, plus equitable first distribution. As part of the Seedstocks Program, a Variety Release Committee with broad membership was organized about 1972 to make judgments on release of new varieties. Along with release decisions, the committee also adjusted the price of foundation seed to the cash market so the cash market would never exceed the price of foundation seed. Prices also were adjusted to registered and certified seed in the counties and a premium for producing high quality seed was instituted. Seed also was allocated in much larger lots than formerly, so the seed producer would take care to isolate the crop, clean all equipment used to produce the seed, and store safely until cleaned and bagged for next producer.

In addition to adding people to the mission of Agronomy, the legislature provided tools as operating funds, new laboratories, new greenhouses, more equipment for field and vehicles to move people and things, etc. A program to achieve these things, supervision of people and programs, etc. was the duty primarily of Dr. Carter as the department chairman. Many opportunities provided by the people of North Dakota were recognized, understood and put to use by Agronomy, the ND Experimental Station, and NDSU.

The contribution of the above via the chairman, the crop breeder, the weed scientist, etc. to North Dakota agriculture was worth 100’s of millions of dollars and many nights of good sleep and profit for crop producers because the wheat was resistant to rust, weeds were controlled in the fields, and there were markets for high quality crop products. Upon the release of Stoa wheat, for example, increased yield and protein percent the first year of Stoa farm production above the next possible best variety available was worth $44,000,000. The total benefit of the Agronomy Department to ND crop agriculture, probably in a huge part because of Dr. Carter’s leadership, was in billions of dollars.



BS, 1941, University of Nebraska, with Distinction
MS, 1946, Washington State University, Pullman
PhD, 1950, University of Wisconsin, Madison



  • 1937 - 41: Worked on farm in summer and worked for NYA, National Youth Act, and for the Nebraska State Seed Laboratory, Lincoln, while earning his BS degree
  • 1941 - 42: Graduate Teaching Fellow, Agronomy Department, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • 1942 - 45: U.S. Naval Reserve, including two years in the Pacific Theater
  • 1945 - 46: Graduate Teaching Fellow, Agronomy, Washington State University, Pullman, WA (taught 2 courses)
  • 1946 - 50: Graduate Research Fellow, Agronomy Dept., University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • 1950 - 59: Associate Professor, Agronomy, NDSU, Fargo, ND
  • 1959 - 87: Professor, Agronomy, NDSU
  • 1960 - 87: Chairman of Agronomy, NDSU
  • 1987 - present: Professor Emeritus of Agronomy, NDSU


Professional organizations, career related activities, civic and club activities


  • 1950 - 97: Member, American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America
  • 1967: Fellow of ASA and CSSA
  • 1972: President of CSSA and Executive Committee
  • 1960’s: Chairman of several sections of ASA and CSSA
  • Consulting editor to Agronomy Journal and Crop Science Journal; presented many scientific papers at meetings; chapter author in two books; Editor of Monograph book, Sunflower Science and Technology
  • 1972: Charter member of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and member of several task forces; life member and Cornerstone Club
  • 1975: President, North Central Section, American Society of Agronomy
  • 1978 - 79: President, CAST and Executive Committee
  • 1960 - 87: Chairman, Agronomy Seed Farm Council
  • 1950 - 97: Member, North Dakota Academy of Science, presented papers
  • 1978 - 97: President, Flax Institute of the United States
  • 1989 - 95: Member, North Dakota Oilseed Council, appointed by Director, North Dakota Agricultural Experimental Station


  • 1950 - 97: Member and variable officer, Faith Methodist Church, Fargo
  • 1960 - 70’s: Cub and Boy Scout committee member
  • 1965 - 66: Co-chair of a committee that selected location of North High School and moving Red River Valley Fairgrounds to West Fargo from present location of University Village, NDSU
  • 1987 88: Member, Century II Prairie Club, NDSU Foundation
  • 1988: Member, President's Bronze Medallion Society
  • 1983 - 97: Dr. Carter donated approximately 60 grafted, multi variety apple trees to the annual Bison Bidders Bowl, Homecoming, which have sold for an average of $300 each
  • NDSU Teammakers, longtime member and donor


Honors & Awards

Honorary societies: Sigma Xi; Gamma Sigma Delta; Alpha Zeta

Fellow, American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society America

Honors at North Dakota State University:

  • 1975: NDSU Quarter Century Club
  • NDSU Faculty Lectureship in 1978
  • Alpha Zeta Outstanding Educator in 1979
  • Alpha Zeta Outstanding Agriculturist in 1983
  • Blue Key Distinguished Educator Award, 1989
  • 1995, a room in Loftsgard Hall named Dr. Jack F. Carter Lecture Room
  • 1995: Dr. Carter was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from North Dakota State University, Fargo

Honors in/from organizations in North Dakota, mostly at retirement

Awards and Plaques for Distinguished Service from:

  • National Barley Growers Association, 1987
  • Northwest Bean Growers Association, 1987
  • Honoree, North Dakota Winter Show, 1989
  • National Pasta Industry, 1987
  • North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, 1986
  • State of North Dakota via Governor Sinner, 1991
  • North Dakota Wheat Commission, 1987
  • U.S. Durum Growers Association, 1986
  • Southwestern North Dakota Farmers, Agricultural Improvement Associations of 11 counties
  • North Dakota Oilseed Council, 1989 - 95


Fargo Chamber of Commerce, the award Putting Fargo on the Map, first faculty member in Agriculture, NDSU, at least, to become President of a National Scientific Society, the Crop Science Society of America

Honorary member, Flax Growers of Western Canada, at their annual meeting in 1994


Other achievements attained within the nominee’s profession and employment


1950 - 60: See Section I for achievements in forage crops research

1960 - 87: Contributions of Dr. Carter were in supervision and administration of faculty, staff and students conducting research with maximum efficiency and productivity possible. Some additional things are: Regional and national leadership in seedstocks programs, in crop breeding and weed science research and in training of undergraduate and graduate students in these areas.

Encouragement of research reporting by faculty and students at regional and national meetings of peer scientists, and to appropriate commodity organizations, e.g., wheat millers and pasta manufacturers, and maltsters of barley.


Development of the Agronomy curriculum into a world class academic program, especially in plant breeding and genetics and weed control science. The training of students is the future.


University extension and on campus academia


Dr. Carter has delivered 100’s of speeches, prepared 100’s of leaflets or bulletins, answered 1000’s of letters and/or phone calls; and has had 1000’s of discussions with agriculturists and/or students as office visitors.

He has made 100’s of speeches to Commodity Trade Teams and conducted 100’s of workshops on Grain Grading, especially wheat and barley.

The first North Dakota Seed Trade Short Course was scheduled at NDSU, December 15, 1961. This one day short course on crop performance and recommendations and on seedstocks was organized by Dr. Carter and Clarence Sande, then Vice President of AGSCO, Grand Forks. This Short Course continued for many years, sometimes on consecutive days with the Plant Food (fertilizer and fertility) Conference on NDSU campus. The Short Course continued until 1970 when it was combined with the Plant Food Conference, Agribusiness, to form the North Dakota Agricultural Association in the Fargodome at NDSU, a much bigger show.

Other Extension Service

Dr. Carter was one of 3 NDSU members on Governor Link ’s Mined Land Reclamation Committee. Meetings were held and a plan developed leading to the legislative requirements for reclamation of land disturbed by mining for lignite coal or in drilling for oil. Outgrowths of this committee were REAP , Regional Environmental Assessment Program, later to be the Old West Commission, all dealing with the environment and related economic issues.

Dr. Carter also was one of the original NDSU members of EPSCOR which still provides funds for researchers at NDSU and UND.

University Service:

Dr. Carter has been member or chairman of hundreds of academic committees necessary to University operation, e.g.

  1. In 1959, he was member of the committee that developed the PhD program, originally for five departments to participate.
  2. Dr. Carter wrote the "Plant Science" PhD program which was approved by the National Education Defense Act (post Sputnik), and later served for three years on a national committee evaluating programs proposed in "Plant Science", including Botany.
  3. Agronomy received 3-5 PhD awards per year/for NDEA Fellowships which included fringe benefits for PhD candidates, and was groundwork for our PhD program.

Dr. Carter was first chairman of the Honors Program Committee at NDSU. One of the original members, Dr. Catherine Cater, still leads the program.

Dr. Carter wrote and prepared the proposal for the Distinguished Professorship Program at NDSU. President Loftsgard with help of C. Warner Litten, got funding for the program from the Fargo C/C, and it is ongoing. Dr. Carter was Chairman of the award committee for several years. Dr. S.S. Maan, wheat cytogeneticist in Agronomy was the first recipient. Dr. John D. Nalewaja, weed scientist, was the second recipient.

Dr. Carter was a member of the Academic Standards Committee in Agriculture for many years, the custodian of adequate academic performance by students.

Dr. Carter was member of the NDSU Centennial Committee and succeeded in bringing Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner, to NDSU to speak.

** Dr. Carter has worked about 2/3 time since 1987 to promote the use of flaxseed in human nutrition. and for livestock, especially poultry. (Flaxseed is uniquely high in omega 3 fatty acid (like fish) and dietary fiber.) He is a flax consultant to the North Dakota Oilseed Council. He supervises research on flaxseed utilization for NDAES at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Texas A. and M. University, College Station, TX.


Brief Family History

Jack Carter married Iris I. Smith, October 19,1941. They have five children, Nancy, Stephen, Jeffrey, Joel, and Brian, and six grandchildren. Nancy is a language teacher; Steve is an airplane pilot and insurance agent; Jeffrey is a Realtor; Joel is an elementary teacher/postal employee; and Brian is a senior geologist/hydrologist. Brian is a graduate, BS and MS from NDSU, and Jeff and Joel are graduates of Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN. Brian’'s wife also is a graduate of NDSU. Iris is a graduate of NDSU.

Additional Remarks

Dr. Carter is a strong supporter of football and basketball, sometimes track, at NDSU; the NDSU Foundation: and North Dakota agriculture. GO BISON! !

The outstanding contributions Dr. Jack Carter has made over his distinguished career have benefitted not only the students who attended NDSU but the citizens of North Dakota and people throughout the United States and the rest of the world who depend upon high quality food production. There is no other individual who has contributed more to agriculture, and therefore, is deserving of a place in the North Dakota Agricultural Hall of Fame.



A perspective of Agronomy, NDSU, February, 1987. ...where we are and where to go. .. suggestions, judgements. J. F. Carter, Chairman, Agronomy, NDSU

Enhancing the Quality of U.S. Grain for International Trade. Part A. The Genetics of Grain Quality. 1. Wheat Breeding Issues Related to Grain Quality. 241 pp. For Office of Technology Assessment. U.S. Congress. August, 1989.

J.F .Carter granted Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by NDSU, 1995.

Dr. Jack F. Carter Lecture Room in Loftsgard Hall.

U.S. Flax Institute meeting in Fargo alternate years.

Jack F. Carter, Editor, ASA Monograph, Sunflower Science and Society of American, 504 pp. 1978.

Nomination for Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, NDSU, 1995.

1978 Faculty Lectureship, Imminent Crises in Food Production Agriculture. NDSU, February 21, 1978.

Map showing how Waldron hard red spring wheat, a new variety of potential great value to farmers was increased from one pound to 7,200,000 lbs. between May 1, 1968, and August 15, 1969, by using two winter increases in California and Arizona, same year.

History of Wheat in North Dakota. A large, very detailed figure/chart prepared by Dr. Carter for construction of a large traveling display by the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

A Century of Wheat Production in North Dakota, 1889 to 1989. Jack F. Carter, Professor Emeritus, NDSU. A symposium paper. Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science, April, 1989. Volume 43.

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