News Release

U of M Crookston Torch & Shield Award Recipients for 2012 Honored

By ltollefs on
Friday, October 5, 2012

2012 Torch and Shield

Honoring those who have aided in the development of the University of Minnesota Crookston, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC), and Extension is the purpose of the Torch & Shield award. This celebration of leadership is the highest honor presented by the Crookston campus and a special recognition event was held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, on the campus.
The Torch & Shield award recipients for 2012 include Alan Cattanach, general agronomist at American Crystal Sugar Company in Moorhead, Minn.; Wayne Goeken, director of the International Water Institute's Center for Watershed Education; and Otter Tail Power Company, whose headquarters are located in Fergus Falls, Minn.


Alan Cattanach (left) has worked in cooperative research efforts in the past with 8 scientists from Northwest Research and Outreach Center and 6 from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. He has served on U of M search committees and Extension planning teams and committees. He has participated in numerous sugarbeet and soil fertility extension meetings with other U of M Extension specialists and county extension agents and served as liaison to NWROC and St. Paul campus scientists for Sugarbeet research programs of interest to American Crystal Sugar Company.
Working as part of the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board of Minnesota and North Dakota, Cattanach has helped to provide extensive funding of projects at the NWROC and to St Paul campus scientists, as well as involved in an EPA grant partnership with NWROC (Biological control of Cercospora Leafspot) and provided gift funds to NWROC in support of sugarbeet research projects.
He earned his doctorate in soil science from the University of Minnesota, and master's of science, and bachelor's of science also in soil science from North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Wisconsin-Madison respectively. He has been general agronomist at American Crystal Sugar Company since July 1998 and prior to that worked for North Dakota State University and the U of M as Extension sugabeet specialist. 

Wayne Goeken

Over the years, Wayne Goeken (left) has worked with a number of personnel at the U of M, Crookston primarily with River Watch and watershed education and monitoring efforts. Recently he has worked with associate professors Katy Smith and Brian Dingmann on a river sediment research project involving high school and university students. 
Goeken has been involved in ongoing work with the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and Executive Director Linda Kingery in promoting the Red Lake River Enhancement Project, including leading a canoe/kayak trip of the entire 195-mile length of the Red Lake River to raise awareness of its cultural attributes and recreational potential. He continues to work with the NRSDP on development of initiatives to connect people to nature, especially children, including promoting nature-based interactive play spaces for children.
He coordinates the annual River Watch Forum on the U of M, Crookston campus during spring break, with high school River Watch teams coming from 25 schools throughout the Red River Basin to share their results and learn about current topics in watershed science. He also conducts annual training and certification workshops each spring for personnel from natural resource agencies who are involved in water quality monitoring, the only certification program of its type in Minnesota.
Goeken earned his bachelor of science in agribusiness and his master of science in economics from South Dakota State University in Brookings.
Named for the river that provided its first source of power, Otter Tail Power Company was 

Ottertail Power Logo

incorporated in 1907. The company began producing electricity in 1909 at Dayton Hollow Dam on the Otter Tail River near Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and home to the company's headquarters.
Today, Otter Tail Power Company is a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation. Its approximately 790 employees provide electricity and energy services to more than 129,000 customers in 422 communities and in rural areas in an un-crowded 70,000-square-mile service area in western Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, and northeastern South Dakota. The company has customer service centers in Crookston and ten other communities in its service area.
Otter Tail Power Company's mission is to produce and deliver electricity as reliably, economically, and environmentally responsibly as possible to the balanced benefit of customers, shareholders, and employees and to improve the quality of life in the area in which we do business. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company visit
Otter Tail Power Company has supported the University of Minnesota Crookston over the years through scholarships, the Campus Energy Challenge, and various sponsorships. 
Cris Oehler director of public relations for Otter Tail, accepted the award on behalf of Otter Tail Power Company. 
The Torch & Shield Award honors contributions of significance to higher education, the Crookston campus, and the region; recognizes champions of the U of M Crookston, NWROC, and Extension for their impact on the region through teaching, research, and outreach; and distinguishes both high profile individuals and those who have been "quiet" contributors to the success of the Crookston campus.
Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 10 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit
In the photo, at top, Fred Wood, chancellor of the U of M Crookston, Goeken, Oehler, Cattanach, and Albert Sims, director of operations at the NWROC.