Cattle nutritionist recognized for Extension outreach
Dr. Chris Richards, an extension specialist at Oklahoma State University, has received the 2013 Extension Award from the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science. Richards’ work helps him answer important questions for beef producers around the country.
Richards’ interest in animal nutrition started at a young age. He grew up around beef cattle, and he worked on an FFA project to learn more about sheep nutrition and forages in high school.
“That’s when I really started looking at the science part of it,” said Richards.
Richards’ curiosity led him to earn a bachelors degree in animal science at Texas A&M University. Still fascinated by nutrition, Richards completed a Masters degree at the University of Nebraska. His work there focused on the use of corn byproducts in animal feed. As a PhD student at the University of Kentucky, Richards researched digestive physiology in the small intestine.
Richards first became involved in Extension as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. Today, Richards is part of a strong beef cattle Extension program at Oklahoma State University (OSU). At OSU, Richards connects with cattle producers through programs like the Master Cattleman program and OSU Beef Industry Conference.
Richards might be best known through his extension site: BeefExtension.com. Producers visit the site for information on cattle receiving, feedlot management, beef quality and more. Richard helped develop the site, and he said it is an especially important tool for producers when times are tough. When a severe drought hit Oklahoma in the summer of 2011, Richards saw a “tremendous” amount of traffic on the site.
The drought has sparked a lot of questions for beef cattle producers. Richards’ next research project focuses on pre-weaned calf nutrition and how calves respond to respiratory disease.
“We’re seeing a lot of issues currently with drought-stressed calves,” said Richards.
Like much of his work, Richards’ data could help beef cattle producers in Oklahoma and across the United States.
The ASAS Southern Section Extension Award is given to researchers working in Extension who have made an outstanding and noteworthy contribution in the field of animal science. The 2013 award was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, Vetmedica Division. The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more than 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world.
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