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Former NDSU weed scientist honored by Western Society of Weed Science

Richard Zollinger, a long-time North Dakota State University Extension Service weed scientist, has been honored by the Western Society of Weed Science in their Fellows Awards. He was an innovator in the Wide World of Weeds annual conferences and was known for his study of dicamba herbicide drift issues.

A bespectacled man speaks at a microphone, flanked by a map of the United States with yellow states indicating where complaints about dicamba herbicide were found in 2017.
Richard Zollinger, a former North Dakota State University weed scientist, spoke for the last time at the 20th Wild World of Weeds seminar in Fargo on Jan. 17, 2018, after retiring from his post in 2017. Zollinger went on to be product development manager for AMVAC Chemical Company and in March 2022 was honored by the Western Society of Weed Science in their Fellows Awards. At the time, Zollinger said there were many unanswered questions about dicamba herbicide drift, an issue that remains controversial in 2022.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek file photo
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WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Richard Zollinger, a former longtime North Dakota State University Extension Service weed scientist, is one of a dozen scientists honored in March by the Western Society of Weed Science in their Fellows Awards” — a recognition honoring outstanding contributions in the field.

WSWS is an affiliate of the Weed Science Society of America, which honored Zollinger in 2017.

“Those honored join a long line of professionals who have advanced the weed science discipline through innovation, research, teaching, publishing and outreach,” says Anita Dille, president of the WSSA.. “We are proud to call them our colleagues.”

A speaker in a suit speaks to an audience, using his hands to show the impact of dicamba on non-tolerant soybeans.
Richard Zollinger, a North Dakota State University weed scientist, speaking at the 20th Wild World of Weeds seminar in Fargo on Jan. 17, 2018. He went on to be product development manager for AMVAC Chemical Company and in has been honored by the Western Society of Weed Science in their Fellows Awards.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Zollinger served at NDSU from 1990 to 2017. He “retired” from NDSU at the end of 2017, to move closer to his family. He went on to be a product development manager for AMVAC Chemical Company.

“His relevant, high-quality research and expertise in adjuvants have made him an in-demand speaker both in the U.S. and abroad — able to tailor information to both scientific and lay audiences,” says the citation. “As a former North Dakota liaison to the IR-4 program, he drafted many registration requests to benefit growers. Now he continues to promote grower access to proper use of herbicides through herbicide registration efforts at AMVAC."

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The IR-4 Project was established in 1963 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that specialty crop farmers have legal access to safe, effective crop protection products. The crop protection industry focuses on research involving major crops — corn, cotton, soybeans — so growers of other crops often are left with fewer tools to safe.

Among other things, Zollinger was known nationwide for his commitment to studying the effects of off-target drift of new formulations of dicamba herbicide to non-tolerant crops. Zollinger offered counsel to regulators, education and analysis for producers, weed control applicators and manufacturers. He also oversaw the updating and compilation of the North Dakota Weed Control Guide, the university’s compilation of production recommendations.

Zollinger grew up working with his brothers in a family farming operation with livestock and crop production farms in Utah, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia, Canada. He earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Utah State University and his doctorate in Weed Science from Michigan State University.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTAWEEDSNORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITYAGRICULTUREAGRICULTURE RESEARCH
Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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