Bismarck, N.D. – The North Dakota Beef Commission (NDBC) has named former consumer marketing and industry relations specialist Nicole Wardner as its new executive director, effective June 1. Wardner replaces Nancy Jo Bateman, who retired in December after 38 years as the longest-serving beef council executive in the nation.
Wardner’s duties include overseeing NDBC staff and board of directors through Beef Checkoff programming and budget oversight. She serves as an advocate of North Dakota’s beef industry and its producers. She brings firsthand knowledge of the industry and the Beef Checkoff to the role. Wardner and her husband, Cody, along with sons, Royce and Henry, run a commercial cow/calf operation and small grain farm near Mercer, N.D. She had served in her previous role alongside Bateman since 2020.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to represent and promote the beef industry that is so vital to the health and well-being of North Dakota,” Wardner said. “I want to thank the North Dakota Beef Commission for putting its faith in me and pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of our state’s beef producers.”
A Redwood Falls, Minn., native, Wardner grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation. She attended South Dakota State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science, beef production. Following college, she worked for the Red River Farm Network as an on-air farm broadcaster. Wardner then served with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency as a program technician in Sheridan County and transitioned to North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension as the agriculture and natural resources agent for Sheridan County.
The NDBC, representing North Dakota beef farmers and ranchers, manages the state beef checkoff program with the mission of enhancing beef demand by strengthening consumer trust and exceeding consumer expectations. This is accomplished through programs and activities in the areas of promotion, research and consumer information. Learn more at www.ndbeef.org.