Extension Agents & Staff
the NDSU Extension Service. We extend education to North Dakota residents of all ages and walks of life. You’ll find us at work in your county, at Research Extension Centers and at the main campus of North Dakota State University. As North Dakotans work to improve their lives, we’re there to help. Our efforts have a special emphasis on strengthening agriculture and developing the potential of youth, adults and communities. Our efforts are funded by county, state and federal government.
We have a rich history of extending North Dakota’s land-grant university. Federal legislation established Extension in 1914, but years before that our predecessors were extending education through lectures, institutes, tours, fairs and demonstrations.
... that through Extension’s help
“men and women may develop within
themselves the ability to bring
about a better condition in the community.”
North Dakota’s first Extension director
Paige Brummund, Extension Agent
Paige joined the Ward County Extension Service in October 2011. She is a graduate of NDSU with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science and Equine Studies and a minor in Agribusiness. A native of Oakes, her recent experience has been in the private sector working with reproductive programs on ranches. Paige is responsible for educational programs in animal systems, horticulture, agronomy, and community and youth development. She also has administrative duties in the Extension Office.
- Animal Systems - information on program areas in all animal systems. This includesherd health, nutrition, reproduction, and general husbandry.
- Cropping Systems - information on program areas in agronomy. This includes weed control, crop rotation, soil health and crop budgeting among other topics.
- Horticulture - information on a variety of home and commercial horticulture programs. These vary from greenhouse management to wild flowers in North Dakota.
- Marketing - assistance to marketing Beef, Crop, and Ag marketing clubs in Ward County which includes educational programs.
Ellen M. Bjelland, Extension Agent
Ellen joined the Ward County Extension Service in June of 2013. She serves as the Family and Consumer Science Agent and in that capacity offers research-based educational programming in the areas of Food and Nutrition, Family Resource Management and Human Development. Ellen is a graduate of NDSU with a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics Education and a Master's Degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Human Development and Family Studies. Ellen is a native of Berthold, North Dakota.
- Foods and Nutrition - provides current research-based education and information for healthy living choices.
- Family Resource Management - resources and information on managing family finances and wise consumer practices.
- Human Development - resources and education to help with personal and family relationships and communications.
Trisha Jessen, Extension Agent
- Trisha teaches research-based education to SNAP eligible youth and adults in the four
core elements: Dietary Quality, Food Safety, Purchasing and Security.
Holly Arnold, Extension Parent Educator
Holly joined the Ward County Extension Service in October 2003. She received her
Child Development/Family Services degree from NDSU. Since 2007, Holly has been the Parent Resource Center (PRC) coordinator for Region II which includes the following counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward.
- PRC - Coordinate and deliver educational opportunities, information and resources
to parents, caregivers, and other professionals.
Micky Zurcher - Extension Agent - 4-H
Micky joined the Ward County Extension service in March 2014. She serves as the 4-H Youth Development Agent. Her most recent degree is from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Park and Recreation Management. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies from Montana State University. Micky is a Bottineau County 4-H Alumni with
11 years as a Country Cousins 4-H member. Her many projects included showing cattle, bike rodeo, hardanger, photography, sewing, baking, gardening, Fashion Revue (now Clothing Revue), communication arts, and showing her horse, Skipper.
- Micky works with 4-H club leaders, members, and volunteers providing hands-on, real-life learning experiences building traditional and modern club programs and ideas.
Laura Morelli, Extension Assistant
Laura began working with the Extension Service in 1995. She provides support for the agents in 4-H and Parent Resource Center. She received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Minot State University.
Shirrell Ott, Extension Assistant
Shirrell began working with the Extension Service in February of 2015. She provides support for the agents in 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Family Nutrition Program. Shirrell received her A.A. degree from UND in Grand Forks.
For 31 years she has worked in offices providing support to busy executives.
Micki Mertz, Sr. Administrative Assistant
Micki began working at the extension office in January of 2014. She provides support for the office running the day to day operations as well as assisting Paige in areas concerning agriculture, horticulture, ranching, and pesticide programs. She studied English at the University of North Dakota.
Amanda Donarski, 2015 Summer Intern
The NDSU Extension Service in Ward County welcomes Amanda Donarski to our office. She will be interning with us throughout the summer. Amanda is a senior at NDSU majoring in Animal Science and Agribusiness. She grew up in Polk County, Minnesota on a hobby farm. They have black and red Angus cattle and a mixture of hogs. She was a member of Climax-Fisher Flyers 4H club and was primarily involved in showing cattle and hogs, fashion review, construction, and photography. She held office as Secretary/ Treasurer, Vice-President and President of her 4Hclub and was an officer in Federation (county level club). She looks forward to meeting everyone over the summer and spreading her knowledge while learning with the county as her internship progresses!