A group of farmers visit over supper after a plot tour.
Photo Credit:
Mike Ostlie

Advisory Board Interaction Drives CREC Research

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Have you wondered how NDSU researchers come up with new trial ideas each year?

The answer is that there are multiple ways this occurs. One of the most valued sources for research ideas is our farmer- and rancher-driven Advisory Board. Our advisory board meets twice per year to receive updates from CREC and NDSU, and discuss problems that producers are facing in the field and pasture. This board consists of one representative from each county in a 13-county region surrounding CREC. At each meeting we spend a significant amount of time talking about issues related to soil health, crop productivity, salinity, livestock production, nutrient management, economics, precision agriculture, and many other topics. Sometimes these discussions occur between producers, leading to mutual learning. Other times, questions have no easy answer. In this case, Extension and research staff make notes and try to identify problems that can be solved through research studies.

We take great pride in the number of questions we are able to address in the subsequent growing seasons. A few study examples that have been addressed this way are: developing best management practices in a rye/soybean relay system, herbicide x cover crop interactions, dry bean starter fertilizer management, cereal variety differences in response to soil salinity, comparison of nitrogen fertilizer stabilizers, and soil compaction effects from livestock grazing. Our Advisory Board really does drive our research programs!

Beyond our Advisory Board, we also value one-on-one interactions. A number of studies are initiated as a result of site visits or phone conversations about current issues in agriculture. The bottom line is that sometimes innocent conversations and questions lead to real world changes. We would love to hear from you!

Mike Ostlie, Ph. D.