The late George Rogler, who worked at the Northern Great Plains Research Center in Mandan and was recognized nationally and internationally for achievements in the field of grassland management, has been named to the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Induction will occur March 6 during the 81st annual North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City.
Rogler was born in Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in agronomy in 1935. He received a master of science degree in plant breeding in 1942 from the University of Minnesota and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by North Dakota State University in 1971.
Rogler came to North Dakota as a junior agronomist in 1936 to develop improved grass cultivars for reseeding eroded areas from the severe drought years. He was in charge of large-scale field collections of grass seed and was an adviser to government agencies and private landowners, seeding thousands of acres of western North Dakota back to grass. In 1937, he assumed responsibility for a full-time grass breeding program with the Division of Forage Crops and Diseases, and in 1941 his duties were extended to include grazing investigations.
Rogler moved progressively through the ranks, becoming an agronomist in 1946 and a research agronomist in 1954.
In 1941, Rogler defined the effect of grazing intensity on animal production per acre, and on gains per head. His research proved the benefits of spring grazing deferment on livestock gains and range condition. Another major accomplishment was making the initial selections resulting in the release of Rodan western wheatgrass, named in his honor as a contraction of “Rogler” and “Mandan.” Rodan is the only western wheatgrass developed in North Dakota for its climate conditions. Western wheatgrass was named the North Dakota state grass in 1977.
Rogler’s research took him around the world, and based on his lifelong research in North Dakota, he authored and co-authored 90 scientific publications on grass breeding and grassland management.
After his retirement in 1973, he continued to serve as a consultant. He and his wife, Vera, traveled extensively to most U.S. states and all continents except Antarctica. Rogler died in 2003.