The Roundup -

The Williston Research and Extension Center Welcomes New Extension Specialist Clair Keene


Clair Keene accepted the Robert D. Sweet Outstanding Graduate Student award from the Northeastern Weed Science Society‚Äč in January of 2016.

The Williston Research and Extension Center recently welcomed Clair Keene, who started her position as the Area Extension Specialist in Cropping Systems at the end of February.

Keene grew up in Bellevue, NE where she spent a lot of time outdoors and helping her father with his garden. She gained an appreciation for good food, fresh produce, and hard work by helping her father and grandmother with their gardens. From an early age, she was fascinated by plants and how they grow and survive.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, Keene's interest expanded to include soil science and this got her thinking about how agriculture impacts soil and landscapes. Her PH.D. advisor encouraged her to pursue a career in Extension and to look for opportunities which would allow her to conduct research.

Keene graduated from Penn State University with a PH.D. in Agronomy in 2015; upon receiving her resume, the former Director of the Minot Research and Extension Center suggested that she may be a perfect fit for the Williston Research and Extension Center, as the position in Minot had already been filled. Keene visited North Dakota for the first time in November of 2015 to interview for the position and was hired the following month.

"North Dakota State University has a strong ag program and I thought it would be a great place to start my career," Keene commented. "The diversity of crops in Western North Dakota is very exciting and will give me many more things to work with in addition to corn and soybeans."

Keene hopes to be a resource for farmers seeking weed management advice; she also wants to become involved with promoting soil health and how it can be improved and maintained by diversifying crop rotations, reducing tillage, and using cover crops.

"The importance of agriculture to North Dakota cannot be overstated and I enjoy learning about new crops," she said, adding that she is looking forward to working with area farmers and other members of the ag industry to address their concerns.


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