Endowed Professorship Helps Soybean Research to Thrive

A new endowed professorship at North Dakota State University (NDSU) will ensure that soybean breeding research continues to thrive in North Dakota.  

During the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo held at the Fargodome, the Ted Helms Endowed Professorship at NDSU was announced by Greg Lardy, NDSU vice president for Agricultural Affairs together with Joel Thorsrud, Hillsboro, North Dakota, soybean farmer and Ted Helms, retired NDSU soybean breeder.  

As NDSU’s soybean breeder for 33 years, Helm’s work made it possible for soybeans to grow from a minor crop to the production of over seven million acres in North Dakota in 2021. During his time at NDSU, 40 varieties of soybeans were developed.  

“One of my most important goals was to always serve the family farmers to give them more value and to help farmers with their bottom-line profitability,” says Helms. “I am very honored. The most important thing is that this program is going to be supported and farmers are going to continue to be well-served by the NDSU research program.”  

“Dr. Helms’ varieties have enabled farmers to thrive in spite of the short growing season, withstand extreme climate settings from drought to flood and harvest a crop even in the tough years,” says Kendall Nichols, North Dakota Soybean Council director of research.  

Joel Thorsrud established a legacy gift to endow the soybean breeding position at NDSU in honor of Helms. Thorsrud, a 1973 NDSU alumnus, wanted to make a legacy gift to support NDSU agriculture and the soybean program. After meeting with NDSU agriculture leadership, Joel learned that the most impactful gift he could make was to endow a professorship.  

“When this legacy gift is realized, it will support a faculty member in the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences in soybean breeding and allow NDSU to stay at the forefront of soybean breeding,” says Lardy. “It will provide funds that will expand research capacity and teaching methodologies to create superior soybean varieties that will benefit North Dakota farmers, as well as enrich the academic experience for hundreds of students in the future.”  


Greg Lardy, 701-231-7660, gregory.lardy@ndsu.edu

Top of page