The North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Wildlife groups, and Agricultural entities have joined together in a one of a kind partnership to fund Farm Bill Specialists located in USDA service centers across the state. Farm Bill Specialists are employed by the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts (NDASCD) with funding coming from a diverse partnership of wildlife and agricultural groups. The responsibilities of a Farm Bill Specialist are to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in providing voluntary conservation programs to producers across North Dakota.
The partnership consists of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts (NDASCD), North Dakota Game and Fish Department, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Delta Waterfowl, North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, North Dakota Farm Bureau, North Dakota Grain Growers, US Durum Growers, Northern Canola Growers and the North Dakota Soybean Council and the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
Farm Bill Specialists are available to assist producers with technical assistance and conservation programs available through the federal farm bill, state, and local programs. With an array of programs and options available, specialists are a “one-stop shop” for producers to receive help and guidance. A specialist can sit down with a producer to review options and help them meet their goals for their operation. Contact a Farm Bill Specialist of the NDASCD (701-223-8518) for more information.
I am Luke Gilbert the Farm Bill Specialist Supervisor. I grew up in Grand Rapids, MN where I graduated high school in 2009. I attended the University of North Dakota and earned by Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology. While attending college in Grand Forks, I grew to love the prairie and all that it offers. I enjoy chasing whitetails, mule deer, coyotes, roosters, ducks, geese, and walleyes. Most of my fall is devoted to duck and goose hunting. Waterfowl is what got me into this career (and into North Dakota).
I worked for Delta Waterfowl for three summers conducting nesting research while in college. The project was determining the impact of trapping small predators on the nest success of upland nesting ducks. That time spent in the field made me realize that I wanted to work in private lands conservation. I believe that the best way to increase wildlife on the landscape is to work with the farmers and ranchers that live there. I was hired on with NDASCD in December of 2015. I work out of the Turtle Lake Field Office and cover the Garrison Field Office, as well. I live in Washburn, ND with my wife, Kaci. I love the career that I have and I could not ask to be in a better region.
My time with NDASCD has been very rewarding. I enjoy working with agricultural producers helping them with the voluntary conservation programs. I spend the majority of my time working on Conservation Reserve Program planning and eligibilities. I like being able to advise producers as to what the best options are for them to reach their management goals. I love working one on one with producers to determine the conservation practices that work with their operation, benefit their land, and the resource. Serving McLean County 218-256-1505.
My Name is Whitney Huesers, and I am the Farm Bill specialist for McHenry, Rolette, Bottineau and Pierce counties. I was hired by the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts in February 2017 as the Farm Bill Specialist for the South Eastern part of North Dakota and transferred up to the Towner office in mid-May 2017.
I grew up in Max, North Dakota and was raised on a small grains farm where my parents grow canola, wheat, peas and soybeans. I graduated from Max Public School and then attended North Dakota State University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology: Fisheries & Wildlife in May 2016. During college I participated in the National Student Exchange Program and spent my Junior year at Montana State University in Bozeman. I loved being able to live next to the mountains and enjoyed all the beautiful scenery and outdoor activities Bozeman had to offer. I have previously worked as a seasonal for the Army Corps of Engineers in Riverdale, North Dakota where I conducted monitoring activities for Piping Plovers and Least Terns. I love spending time in the outdoors hunting, hiking, helping on the farm, riding horse, and spending time with my family and dog.
So far, the best part of my job as a Farm Bill Specialist is getting to meet all the farmers and ranchers. I have learned so much from talking with them and looking at the conservation practices they implement in their farming and cattle operations. I also enjoy being able to cover four counties; this gives me the opportunity to meet more producers and learn conservation programs and practices from some amazing District Conservationists. Serving McHenry, Rolette, Bottineau and Pierce counties 701-500-1149.
My name is Michael Bichler, and I am from Ashley, North Dakota. I graduated from Ashley High School in 2011. I then attended Valley City State University for Fisheries and Wildlife Science and Biology. While at VCSU, I was a member of the Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Club (now VCSU Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society). I also did intermural sports like football and basketball. In December 2015, I graduated from VCSU and moved back to Ashley, ND with my wife, who is an English teacher and coaches basketball at Ashley Public School.
I started working at Northern Plains in Ashley where I received experience working with farmers. At Northern Plains I worked mainly with the agronomy side and did most of the fertilizer and helped our applicator with spraying. In April of 2017 I took the position as Farm Bill Conservation Specialist. I cover Emmons, Kidder, Logan, and McIntosh counties. My main focus will be on conservation programs through the Farm Bill, but I will also help out with other programs as needed in the counties. Along with being a Farm Bill Specialist, I also spray the road ditches for McIntosh County along with some custom jobs through the county.
In my free time I like to do many outdoor activities such as going hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking. I hunt deer and pheasant but am starting to get more into duck hunting with floating decoys. My wife and I also do photography together and even started a little hobby business called Bar Arrow Photography from it. I love being outdoors any chance I can get and am happy to be in a position that allows me promotes conservation. I am excited to be back in my hometown of Ashley and to help the people in my area and the surrounding counties! Serving Emmons, Kidder, Logan, and McIntosh counties 701-709-0621.
I’m Sarah Hamilton, a Farm Bill Specialist with the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts (NDASCD) in Burleigh, Morton, Oliver, and Sheridan Counties. I obtained my Master of Science in Renewable Natural Resources from Louisiana State University and Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Science from Auburn University. My graduate research focused on evaluating the effects of hydrologic, geomorphic, and vegetative conditions on avian communities along the Middle Rio Grande of New Mexico. Throughout my Master’s research, I worked closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine minimum river flows needed to support various vegetative and avian communities.
My education and work experience in wildlife ecology and private lands biology has a strong research and management component. I have worked with the National Park Service conducting sea turtle research on the coast of Georgia and implementing ecological restoration on the Arizona-Mexican Border. As a research assistant at Auburn University, I conducted research on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and assisted with forested wetland research. I’ve also gained experience outside of the U.S. studying Tropical Biology in Costa Rica and participating in restoration of tropical forests in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador.
During my employment with NDASCD, I have helped landowners implement conservation practices on their land and enroll in voluntary conservation programs. I have also utilized my bird identification skills to conduct Pheasant Crowing Counts and Pheasant Brood Counts for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. As I continue my work as a Farm Bill Specialist, I look forward to providing technical and programmatic assistance to farmers and ranchers to help them achieve their land management goals. Serving Burleigh, Morton, Oliver, and Sheridan Counties 701-805-1381.
My name is Michael Peyton I am the Farm Bill Specialist based in Hettinger, ND. The Hettinger field office is my home station but I rotate through the Bowman and Carson field offices. I cover Slope, Bowman, Adams, and Grant counties on a normal work schedule and other surrounding counties as needed. I coordinate with Federal, State, and Local programs to provide technical and financial assistance to our local producers. My background includes habitat conservation, restoration, vegetation sampling and wildlife surveying and research.
I graduated from South Dakota State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. Following graduation I accepted a seasonal positon working for the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) working in Custer State Park. I had previously worked for GFP as in Intern in other locations and in Custer State Park. I was working as a research technician mostly disease sampling Bighorn Sheep for pneumonia. Other work I conducted while employed with GFP includes wildlife surveying, wildlife depredation, assisting with various research projects such as Pheasant lead distribution, Whitetail fawn survival, and Prairie dogs and Biodiversity. My term as a seasonal was coming to an end when I accepted my current position in December of 2015.
In my spare time I enjoy anything outdoors. I spend a considerable amount of time in the spring and summer shooting at the local range or finding a prairie dog town to practice long range shots. In the fall I’m usually in the field chasing upland game birds with my black Labrador Ace who is pictured on one of our best days a field. Last year we had a phenomenal season with 5 upland species taken throughout the fall. I occasionally take a break from upland bird hunting to chase Mule deer and Antelope with my bow, this has been exceptionally challenging task. Serving Slope, Bowman, Adams and Grant counties 605-520-2167.
Farm Bill Specialist
My name is Amy Gnoinsky and I am the Farm Bill Specialist for Dickey, Ransom, Richland, and Sargent counties. I am originally from Fargo, ND but grew up and graduated high school in Detroit Lakes, MN. Growing up in Lakes Country fostered my love of the outdoors and developed my interest in how people use natural resources in everyday life. Subsequently, the last two summers of my high school career I was a Youth Conservation Corps member for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As part of a team we conducted wildlife surveys, maintained trails and refuge boundaries, planted native vegetation, and banded geese, birds, and ducks. Not only did this job further cement my future career choice, but from then on I became interested in how people can use natural resources in a way that will last for future generations.
After high school, I moved back to Fargo to pursue a post-secondary education at North Dakota State University (NDSU). In between classes I worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service as a sunflower field research assistant. From this experience I gained a perspective on agricultural field practices and an insight on plant genetics and breeding. In my past time, I volunteered at a horse boarding stable and became involved in horsemanship. From this involvement I became aware of what it takes to maintain pastureland and rangeland.
In May 2015, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and Zoology but decided to enter into graduate school, also at NDSU. After conducting research on Municipal Water Use and Dust Impacts on Soybeans, I received my Master of Science in Natural Resources Management in May 2017, and became employed with NDASCD. As I move forward in this position I am excited to promote conservation and assist farmers and ranchers in implementing such practices. Serving Dickey, Ransom, Richland, and Sargent counties 701-429-3611.
Hello! I was born and raised in Bottineau, North Dakota. I am the oldest of four kids in my family. After I graduated high school I attended North Dakota State University (NDSU) where I received a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Management and a minor in Range Science. During my undergraduate career I was fortunate to assist on a number of projects including work with pulse crops, barley, root systems, rangelands, and burrowing owls. After my undergraduate career I decided to continue on with my education and experience to receive a Masters of Science in Natural Resource Management. My graduate project focused on the utilization of oil field brine as a dust suppressant. In addition to my main project, I was fortunate to assist with projects focused on dust applications for research, dust impacts on soybeans, and wetlands.
My main hobbies include music, running, hiking, hunting, and fishing – basically anything outdoors. I have sang and played guitar since junior high. I have also been involved with running since about that time. So far my favorite race is the trail race on the Maah Daah Hey trail in the badlands, it is such a beautiful area! Just this past year I have traveled to Colorado so go snowshoeing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains and to South Dakota to hike around the Black Hills. In the coming years I have trips planned to Glacier and Arches National Parks. I grew up deer hunting with my family and have since branched out to waterfowl, pheasants, turkey, and predator hunting. In regards to fishing, ice fishing all the way! My favorite hobby however, is my black Labrador retriever, Sage. She is very adventurous and I am looking forward to exploring with her and learning more about her as she continues to grow.
I am very passionate about our North Dakota heritage which is deeply weaved in our families and the land we build our life on. I am excited to continue to learn and assist producers while reaching out to as many people as possible about conservation efforts. As the great Aldo Leopold once said “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” My hope is that one day we will all be working for the land so we may be able to continue to partake in the heritage we are so proud to have. Serving Wells, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, and Benson counties 701-871-7217.
Farm Bill Specialist serving Williams, Divide, and Mountrail Counties 701-498-0020
My name is Molly Jugovic and I am the Farm Bill Specialist for Williams, Divide, and Mountrail Counties. I graduated from Lewistown Community High School in 2013 and furthered my education at Eureka College, where I received my Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Biology and Business Administration in May of 2017.
I was born and raised on a small family farm in Canton, IL. Summer of 2014, I spent shadowing around a veterinarian where I had the privilege to sit in on surgeries and followed an equine dentist briefly. I spent summer of 2016 working with (TNC) The Nature Conservancy in Lewistown, IL. Where a newly restored wetland put in a state of the art 6 million dollar research pump house, which was the first of its kind in the area. I obtained my Illinois pesticide operator license and sprayed for invasive plant species such as phragmites and reed canary grass.
This past summer I worked at the Forbes Biological Station in Havana, IL. I conducted marsh bird surveys at Emiquon, which involved wading around and finding nests such as least bitterns, black-crowned night herons, gallinules, and coots just to name a few. Monitoring the nests to evaluate their survival rates. Brood and shorebird surveys were also conducted. I was also responsible for sorting through core samples and (AGWT) American Green Winged Teal diets, picking out seeds and micro-invertebrates.
In my free time I like to keep busy around the family farm, hangout with friends, fishing, crafting, and spending time with my dog. I am excited to start my new position in North Dakota and look forward to working with the farmers and ranchers in my district.
Farm Bill Specialist
Hello, my name is Cody Hoggarth and I am the Farm Bill Specialist who services Stutsman, LaMoure, and Barnes Counties. Farm Bill Specialists work within NRCS field offices around the State, assisting local staff work with voluntary producers in developing plans that promote conservation programs on the land. The main program that our positions assist with is the Conservation Reserve Program, CRP. Specialists work with producers by determining what lands are eligible for certain practices, developing conservation plans for those areas, and answer any questions related to the program in regards to management or conservation. These are very rewarding positions, which expand skills and develop new ones.
I am originally from Fargo, but grew up and spent most of my childhood in Jamestown. I graduated from Jamestown High School in the spring of 2010, and that same summer I moved to Valley City to attend Valley City State University, in hopes of getting a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. After 4 years of hard work, I was able to graduate with a degree in what I set out to do in the spring of 2014.
In early 2015, I accepted a seasonal position working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based out of the Wetland Management District north of Valley City. The almost full year I spent there was very fulfilling. Most of what I did was vegetation mapping, but I learned a great deal about diversity of plant species, management practices to use on rangelands, and how to use certain instruments that are beneficial to conservation careers. I will always be grateful to them for the invaluable skills and information I received while working for the USFWS. After my term ended, I applied and accepted a position with the NDASCD to become a Farm Bill Specialist. I greatly enjoy what I do and am happy to have this opportunity.
When I am not working, I enjoy spending my free time fishing and hunting, kayaking, training my dog, and visiting my family’s lake cabin to enjoy nature and spend time with family. Serving Stutsman, Barnes and LaMoure counties 701-840-0454
Nelson, Ramsey & Towner counties
My name is Zach Anderson, I am the Farm Bill Specialist based in Lakota, ND. I grew up in Fosston, MN and graduated from Fosston High School in 2013. My free time is normally spent outside chasing walleyes and waterfowl. I was lucky enough to grow up close to two of the best walleye factories in the world (Red Lake and Lake of the Woods) and look forward to fishing Devils Lake.
In May 2017 I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology emphasizing in Fisheries and Wildlife with a minor in Natural Resources Management from North Dakota State University. During my senior year I was awarded the Frank Cassel Undergraduate Research Award working as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Craig Stockwell, examining anti-predator behavior of endanger Pahrump Poolfish, native to Nevada.
I started working for the NDASDC in late July 2017, and look forward to working with area producers providing assistance with Federal, State, and Local conservation programs. Serving nelson, Ramsey, and Towner counties 218-289-5653.