CASNR grads among Vance Publishing's 40 Under 40 Agriculture Awards finalists
After evaluating numerous outstanding nominations for Vance Publishing Corporation's inaugural "40 Under 40 in Agriculture Awards," a panel of judges from across the industry has selected two graduates of Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for its list of finalists. Kristina Butts ('01 BS Agricultural Communications, '04 MS Animal Science) and Keith Underwood('02 BS Animal Science) were selected for their leadership and commitment in advancing the cause to double food production by 2050.
"Every segment of the industry will contribute to solving the 2050 challenge, and these finalists reflect the diversity of our country's agriculture industry," said Peggy Walker, Vance Publishing Corporation President. Nominees included hardworking leaders from animal and crop production, biotechnology and university researchers to food and nutrition technology, agricultural equipment, agronomy and beyond, she said.
Butts, 35, is executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The Texas native has spent the past 12 years serving agriculture through roles on Capitol Hill and with NCBA. As NCBA's senior lobbyist, she leads the organizations lobbying efforts on nutrition and food safety policy issues and leads a staff of lobbyists who represent America's cattlemen and women on Capitol Hill.
"You must remain engaged if you want to see positive change," she said. "On many occasions, I've seen cattle producers work across party lines and with all sectors of agriculture to defeat organizations or regulations that do not support agriculture."
Meantime, Underwood, 34, is an assistant professor and extension meat specialist at South Dakota State University. His focus has been on improving the quality of beef. "We're researching how to raise beef most economically to improve efficiencies and the growth of the cattle while still preserving the meat characteristics that are so important," he said.
His research on meat quality, particularly fresh beef quality, has helped lead product development and educate producers about how to manage carcass traits and other important details. He believes this aspect of his job will have the greatest impact of the future of the food industry as producers provide food for a growing population.
"I see community outreach as very important. A lot of people have an interest in learning to cook, but they don't have a background in how to select and prepare meat properly," he said.
By NORMAN MARTIN
CONTACT: Michael Galyean, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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