Howard Olson had a vision of the role that experiment stations would fill in North Dakota, a role to conduct research on irrigation, crop varieties, rotations, tillage practices, livestock and farmstead planning and to then get the information out to the farmers and ranchers all across the state. It became his life´s work. Howard grew up on a farm near Sheldon, ND and graduated from Sheldon High School and later from NDAC, which is now NDSU. He went on to obtain a Master of Science Degree from Utah State University and also served in the Navy in WWII. He started working as an engineer for the Bureau of Reclamation, then as an irrigation research engineer at the Agricultural Research Center in Mandan, before being appointed superintendent at the ND Agricultural Experiment Station in Williston. He developed that station with an insight for production agriculture in an arid region that still serves western North Dakota today. In the late 1950´s he was asked to develop a piece of land near Carrington into an irrigation research site for potatoes, grains and livestock. Howard had an amazing knowledge of irrigation and the technical aspects of water, water delivery, and how crops could use it to their advantage. He also developed the Research Extension Center concept, which combines science and extension specialists and creates more effective research and delivery of information to producers. His many awards include the ND Water Master Award from the ND Irrigation Districts Association, Mr. Irrigation of ND Award from Garrison Diversion Conservancy District and Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from NDSU.
Year Inducted: 2011