Oregon State University has hired an alumnus who is a meat scientist at the University of Illinois to head up its upcoming animal and rangeland sciences department.
John Killefer, who earned a doctorate in animal science at OSU in 1990, will start work next month. He is a professor of meat science and muscle biology at the Urbana-Champaign campus of UI.
"We are excited to have a person of Dr. Killefer's caliber and international reputation take on leadership of the soon-to-be-created department of animal and rangeland sciences, resulting from a merger of the department of animal science and department of rangeland ecology and management," says Sonny Ramaswamy (cq), dean of OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.
The merging of departments is a budget-reducing measure resulting from a major revamping of OSU ag this year.
The proposal to merge them was in response to new directions in science, and reductions in state funding and faculty, says Ramaswamy. The new department is expected to be official this fall, following approvals at the university level.
"My goal is to build upon the strong history and tradition of both programs," says Killefer. "I envision the department as one of the premier departments of animal and rangeland sciences nationally and internationally."
He wants to construct overseas links. For example, because of Oregon's abundant range land area, he would like to expand the marketing of forage-fed beef and dairy products internationally. He also plans to develop collaborative research programs with Argentina to study how it raises cattle.
"They have different production and marketing systems," he observes. "There may be advantages of being able to adopt practices from different cultures. Expanding the global perspective of our department will benefit the teaching, research and extension missions of our program."
Acknowledging the burgeoning world population by 2050, Killefer says increased food production will be required. "We only have a certain amount of land available," he says." If we're going to grow more food, we can't just use more land. We need to be able to manage and maintain our natural resources and improve efficiency of food production."