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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Personnel changes in Dairy Science Department

Dairy Pipeline: August/September 2005

Mike Akers Head, Department of Dairy Science

Dr. Ray Nebel left the Department of Dairy Science in July 2005 to join the private sector. We will continue to benefit from his expertise as his new responsibilities will include working with Virginia dairy producers. He has been replaced as Extension Project Leader for Dairy Science by Dr. Bennet Cassell. Bennet holds BS (1968) and MS (1972) degrees in Dairy Science at Virginia Tech. He joined the Dairy faculty in 1982 immediately after receiving his PhD degree from NC State. Dr. Cassell is the long time author of the genetics portion of the Hoards Dairyman AI column.

Leadership at the Virginia Tech dairy farm changed in July with the retirement of Mr. Harold Nester as superintendent of the dairy herd. Harold gave leadership to the transition from the old to new dairy facilities. In the process, he maintained herd productivity while continuing to support the research, teaching, and extension missions of the department. We are deeply indebted to Harold and wish him every success in his retirement. Harold has been replaced by Mr. Shane Brannock, former MS student in the Dairy Department and manager of the James River Correctional Center dairy herd. Shane completed his BS in Animal Science at Virginia Tech in 1976. He has a very diverse background of practical business and agricultural experience and promises new, innovative approaches to go with the new dairy facilities that he now manages.

Two new faculty members join the ranks of Dairy faculty in August. Dr. Ben Corl joins us as Assistant Professor with major research responsibilities in nutritional physiology. He received his BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech in 1997 and went on to complete a PhD at Cornell, working with conjugated linoleic acid. Ben hails from the beautiful Middletown Valley region in Maryland, and has permanent ties to our community through his wife Julie, who grew up in Blacksburg. Our second new faculty member is Dr. Mark Hanigan, who will join the faculty as an Associate Professor. Dr. Hanigan was educated at Iowa State and UC Davis, with emphasis in nutrition and molecular biology. He will also have major research responsibilities and will work in the area of amino acid metabolism in lactating dairy cow.

Change is guaranteed. Success is not. We are enthusiastic that the changes in personnel throughout the Dairy Science family will give us more than ample opportunity for success. We say fond farewells to exiting employees and proudly introduce our new family members to the dairy industry of Virginia.

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