Dr. Robert Weaber, assistant professor and Extension specialist at Kansas State University, is the recipient of the 2013 ADSA Branch / ASAS Midwest Section Outstanding Young Extension Specialist Award. Weaber’s research into breeding and genetics helps cattle producers improve their herds.
Weaber grew up on a beef operation in Colorado. He decided focus on cattle genetics and breeding after taking an animal genetics course at Colorado State University while he was Director of Education and Research at the American Gelbvieh Association.
“I really loved working with producers and helping them make breeding decisions,” said Weaber.
Weaber went on to earn a PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Cornell in 2004. While at Cornell, Weaber worked for the American Simmental Association. Following completion of his PhD, Weaber served as State Extension Specialist-Beef Genetics at the University of Missouri.
Today, most of Weaber’s Extension work focuses on cow-calf production. He shows producers how to use certain genetic selection tools. By selecting animals with certain genetic traits, cattle producers can improve meat production and animal health. Weaber also encourages cattle producers to collect data and track genetic progress in their herds.
Weaber works closely with animal scientists at several land grant universities, several beef breed associations and the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium. His collaborations and outreach work have had a big impact. During his career, Weaber has received over $13 million in funding for research and extension programming.
Weaber encourages animal science students to learn about a wide range of production systems if they want to work in Extension. He said his experience in the cattle industry after college helped him gain credibility with producers.
“It’s really important that you have the ability to understand a wide range of issues,” Weaber said.
Weaber said he had great mentors during his careers. He said Drs. Tom Field, Robert Taylor, John Pollak, Jerry Taylor, Jim Gibb and Jerry Lipsey helped him understand how basic research can be applied in the industry.
“I’ve been pretty lucky to work with some great people,” said Weaber.
This award is presented by the American Dairy Science Association and American Society of Animal Science to honor leaders in the area of Extension. The 2013 award was sponsored by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC.
American Society of Animal Science
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