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Agricultural News

Certified Angus Beef Scholarships Support Beef's Future

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 11:51:00 CDT

Certified Angus Beef Scholarships Support Beef’s Future
An Oklahoma State University undergraduate student received the top scholarship honor from Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®). Elizabeth Nixon of Rapidan, Virginia was awarded a $6,000 scholarship. She is a junior at OSU majoring in animal science and agricultural communications. A total of $26,000 was awarded to five undergraduate students and one graduate student for their community and beef industry leadership and achievements.

Since its inception in 1999, the Colvin Scholarship Fund has supported the education of nearly 50 future leaders in agriculture and animal sciences. These scholarships honor Louis M. "Mick" Colvin, CAB's founding executive director of 21 years.

2015 Undergraduate Colvin Scholarship Awards:

$6,000 Elizabeth Nixon, Rapidan, Va. Oklahoma State University

$5,000 Garrett Kays, Weir, Kan. Kansas State University

$4,000 Lindsay Upperman, Chambersburg, Pa. Kansas State University

$3,000 Sierra Jepsen, Amanda, Ohio. The Ohio State University

$2,000 Kaitlyn Farmer, Aztec, N.M. Texas Tech University

2015 Graduate Colvin Scholarship Award:

$6,000 Megan Webb, Brookings, S.D. South Dakota State University

The scholarship emulates Colvin's role in making dreams a reality and inspiring others to do their best. For 2015, the annual prizes increased from $20,000 to $26,000 to award higher cash amounts to deserving students. Each of the six awards is $1,000 higher to keep pace with rising education costs, and thanks to the generosity of partners in the program.

Undergraduate applicants were asked to identify what role science and genetics play in delivering more predictable beef sizing and a high-quality eating experience.

Elizabeth Nixon, top scholarship winner, said genomic testing to help find superior animals in a herd can increase predictability and consistency. The Oklahoma State University junior wrote, "The availability of information GeneMax provides is remarkable."

Nixon pointed out that the GeneMax® (GMX) Focus™ test from Zoetis can help identify females in the herd with better carcass genetics, serving as a key selection tool for commercial producers in targeting higher quality. After graduation, the animal science and agricultural communications double major wants to work in communications for the beef industry.

Garrett Kays foresees beef production benefiting from science and technology. "The most significant outcome that science and genetics have accomplished is enabling us to be more efficient with our dwindling supply of beef cattle," he wrote. The agricultural economics junior and $5,000 Colvin Scholarship winner plans to pursue a master's degree in agriculture economics and public policy from Cornell University.

He listed the challenge of using feedstuffs more efficiently and producing more high-quality beef with less land as a need for technology and science to address.

Kansas State University senior and $4,000 winner Lindsay Upperman sees genomic testing to identify genetics that fit each environment as the way of the future. "With new genetic
technologies, I believe we can get much closer to a more consistent size in the cowherd, while still making improvements in both marbling and tenderness," she wrote, adding that selection pressure on economic traits and carcass quality can help raise with predictable beef cut size and quality.

Sierra Jepsen used her experience on The Ohio Statue University livestock judging team to emphasize the role genetics play in the beef industry. The agricultural business junior and $3,000 winner wrote, "Through the use of expected progeny differences, artificial insemination, embryo transfer technology, sexed semen and many other technological advancements, we can see science at work to develop the next generation of beef cattle."

Texas Tech University senior Kaitlyn Farmer, who plans to attend veterinary school after graduation, wrote, "The industry's ability to maintain consistency lies in our capacity to predict each calf's merit and feed the calf to its full potential." The $2,000 scholarship recipient said the key to consistency is genetic selection using "EPDs and genetic markers," to increase the accuracy and predictability.

The Colvin Scholarship Fund began its graduate awards in 2012, opening doors to anyone in a recognized, full-time masters or doctorate program related to high-quality beef production.

Megan Webb, animal science Ph.D. candidate at South Dakota State University, received the $6,000 graduate level award. Her research focuses on "The impact of maternal protein restriction in mid- to late-gestation on gene expression, offspring growth, carcass composition and meat quality." Her findings could have a significant impact on the role fetal nutrition plays in subsequent carcass quality.

Webb wrote, "This research is critical to expanding the beef industry by improving our ability to consistently produce high-value carcasses and meat." She identified previous research efforts that focus on postpartum nutrition, but her study will help understand gene expression and management during gestation.

As the top scholarship recipients, Nixon and Webb also received an all-expense-paid trip to the 2015 CAB Annual Conference, Sept. 24-26 in San Antonio, Texas. There they will interact with leaders in the production, packaging, retail and foodservice areas of the beef industry.

Launched in 1978 and owned by nearly 25,000 American Angus Association members, CAB is the largest branded beef program in the world. Fiscal year 2014 saw an eighth consecutive sales record with 882 million pounds sold through nearly 17,000 licensed partners in more than 46 countries. Learn more about the brand at www.certifiedangusbeef.com, or access producer resources at www.cabpartners.com.

Pictured is Elizabeth Nixon of OSU.



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