Otteson new NDSU Agronomy Seed Farm director

Farm Forum

Brian Otteson is the new director of North Dakota State University’s Agronomy Seed Farm near Casselton.

The farm produces foundation seed for North Dakota’s certified seed industry and is involved in North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station research efforts at the Main Station in Fargo. The research focuses on evaluating and developing new crop varieties and providing data on varieties grown under eastern North Dakota growing conditions.

Foundation seed is labeled with that designation by the North Dakota State Seed Department. The Agronomy Seed Farm works closely with the NDSU Foundation Seedstocks project and the North Dakota State Seed Department during the production, testing and distribution of this seed. Foundation seed is the source of all other certified seed classes.

The Agronomy Seed Farm will continue to provide high-quality foundation seed for North Dakota producers, according to Otteson. The farm also will play an important role in the development of less commonly grown but in-demand crops such as oats and barley.

“Adapting to new technology and releasing high-yielding, high-quality, competitive varieties are important to the future of the seed farm,” Otteson says.

He grew up on a small family farm southwest of Portland, N.D. During high school and college, he worked at Sparrow Seed Service, a neighbor’s seed farm. That’s where he became interested in the seed industry and North Dakota certified seed.

Otteson graduated from NDSU with a bachelor of science degree in Crop and Weed Sciences in 1990. He then worked as a field agronomist for ConAgra, a dry bean company, before joining the Agronomy Seed Farm in 1992 as an agricultural research technician. His primary responsibilities were planting, spraying, identifying and removing plants with undesirable characteristics, harvesting and conditioning the foundation seed.

He earned his master’s degree in Plant Sciences from NDSU in 2008.

Otteson replaces Tom Teigen as director at the Agronomy Seed Farm. Teigen retired April 1 after serving as director for 32 years.