FARGO, N.D. — Sam Markell, North Dakota State University Extension Service plant pathologist, was named the 2017 Communicator of the Year by the NDSU Agriculture Communication Department and North Dakota chapter of the Association for Communication Excellence.
Markell, who joined NDSU Extension in 2007, was honored for his expertise and professionalism in delivering educational programs and information to the public. He received the award during Extension’s statewide conference held Oct. 24-27 in Fargo.
He has led several efforts, including the development of disease diagnostic cards, which provide producers with disease management information for a number of crops. These cards are not just helping North Dakota farmers; the bean cards have been translated into Spanish and are being translated into Haitian Creole. The sunflower cards have been translated into Chinese.
Markell also has led a statewide effort to increase awareness about soybean cyst nematode (SCN), a devastating pathogen of soybeans that is spreading through North Dakota. As part of this effort, Markell worked with the North Dakota Soybean Council, which provided funding to support a statewide SCN sampling effort through Extension’s county offices. He also co-organized multiple field days with Extension agents and developed teaching materials.
In addition, he is leading a national effort on SCN called the “SCN Coalition,” which is a collaboration of public and private partners whose mission is to more effectively manage SCN nationally.
Markell grew up in Minnesota and graduated from NDSU with B.S. and M.S. degrees before earning a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas in 2007.
— NDSU Agriculture Communication
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