NDSU staff honored for work in sustainability and organics

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center's Karl Hoppe and Steve Zwinger (retired) receive awards at the Northern Plains Food and Farming Conference. NDSU | courtesy photo

Research and Extension personnel from the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center received awards at the recent Northern Plains Food and Farming Conference held recently in Fargo, North Dakota. The Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society honors people who strive to increase sustainable agricultural practices through research or education. The society promotes sustainable food systems through education and research.

Karl Hoppe, NDSU Extension livestock systems specialist and North Dakota Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) coordinator, was honored with the Friend of the Farmer Award. Hoppe provides leadership and information on grants and professional development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SARE program in the state. He also is a rancher, supporter of sustainability efforts and soil conservation district supervisor. He was recently inducted into the hall of fame of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, a professional organization for Extension workers in agriculture and natural resources.

SARE is a long-time sponsor of the Food and Farming Conference. Speakers at the Farmers Forum sessions at the conference are the farmers, ranchers and researchers that have received SARE grants. The Farmers Forum session was developed to share the results of the research or on-farm efforts in sustainability.

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center’s Karl Hoppe and Steve Zwinger (retired) receive awards at the Northern Plains Food and Farming Conference. NDSU | courtesy photo

Steve Zwinger was honored with the Steward of the Year Award. Zwinger was an agronomy research specialist at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center until he retired in late 2022 after 40 years of service. The USDA Low Input Sustainable Agriculture program shaped his research and personal interests. He developed and hosted farm tours and workshops for the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society and numerous other groups.

In 2000, Zwinger started the organic Seed Saver program that shared small seed lots with grain and vegetable producers. This later developed into an organic seed sales opportunity. Since 2001, Zwinger has led the organic research program at the Carrington Research Extension Center, where he hosted the organic and sustainable agriculture tours at the center’s annual field day starting in 2012. Zwinger has maintained a wide connection to producers and consumers through vibrant multi-state research and Extension efforts.

The NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center has provided organic and sustainable ag outreach and research to farmers, ranchers and businesses for more than three decades in North Dakota and surrounding states.

–NDSU Extension