NDSU faculty awarded highest professional honor

Farm Forum

Two North Dakota State University faculty have been named a Fellow for 2013 by their respective professional organizations.

The Fellow award is the American Society of Agronomy’s highest honor, according to Dave Franzen, who will be recognized Nov. 5 at the society’s annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. Franzen is a professor and Extension Service soil science specialist in NDSU’s School of Natural Resource Sciences. Up to only 0.3 percent of the society’s active and emeritus members may be elected as a Fellow.

Ken Hellevang, named an American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Fellow, says this also is the ASABE’s highest honor. No more than 0.2 percent of the organization’s active members are granted the grade of Fellow annually. Hellevang, an Extension agricultural engineer and professor in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, received the recognition at the society’s annual international meeting in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.

The ASABE recognizes a member of unusual professional distinction as a Fellow for his or her extraordinary qualifications and experience in agricultural, food or biological systems engineering.

The American Society of Agronomy selects Fellows based on their professional achievements and meritorious service in the agronomy field.

“Being an Extension specialist and a Fellow is particularly satisfying because it recognizes not only the outreach portion of a career but also research conducted that advanced my particular science,” Franzen says.

Hellevang says of his recognition, “The honor for my contributions worldwide in crop postharvest engineering, structures and indoor environmental engineering, flooding preparation and recovery, energy efficiency and service to the society is special because it was granted by my peers.”

Hellevang joined NDSU as an Extension agricultural engineer and assistant professor in 1980 and became an associate professor in 1991 and a professor in 1999. He has conducted research on grain drying and storage topics, including moisture content changes in stored grain during the summer, drying and storing dry edible beans, air temperature increases due to grain drying and aeration fans, and aeration duct design.

Franzen joined NDSU as an assistant professor and Extension soil science specialist in 1994 and became an associate professor in 2000 and a professor in 2006. His research focuses on site-specific nutrient management and soil fertility requirements for crops grown in North Dakota. His leadership in revising nitrogen requirements for hard red spring wheat and durum led to the creation of an online nitrogen calculator.

In addition to providing education and technical assistant on grain drying and storage across the country, Hellevang is co-chair of the national Extension Disaster Education Network’s flooding team, which provides and coordinates education and assistance to university personnel across the U.S.; chair of the national extension group that provides educational technical assistance to the public on flooding-related topics; and NDSU Extension’s resource person for mold topics and structural flooding.

He also led a task force of representatives from agencies and organizations interested in biomass for energy in North Dakota. The task force’s work led to the creation of the Renewable Energy Council, renewable energy grants and the development of NDSU’s Bio Energy and Product Innovation Center.

Each year, Franzen presents numerous programs to producers and others on soil salinity, nutrient response, fertilizer sources and fertilizer/soil amendments. As a result of his efforts, the acreage of canola planted in North Dakota grew from 40,000 to more than 1 million acres without major problems from nutrient deficiencies; zone management is the accepted site-specific nutrient management method in the state; soybean breeding changed to take into account that salts in the soil increase the severity of iron deficiency chlorosis; the sugar content of sugar beets improved after producers began using site-specific nutrient application practices; and by this year, 75 percent of the state’s wheat producers are using the revised nitrogen recommendations introduced in 2010.

He also organizes the Soil and Soil Water Workshop, which about 150 crop consultants attend annually, and he hosted the 2013 Nitrogen Use Efficiency Workshop in Fargo, which was attended by 80 researchers and graduate students from more than 10 states and Brazil.

Both have authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and other publications.

Franzen earned B.S. and M.S. degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Hellevang holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from South Dakota State University and a Ph.D. from NDSU.