By: Lucy Schroeder, ASAS Communications Intern
At the 5th Grazing Livestock Nutrition Conference (GLNC) in Park City, retired animal scientists Dr. Don Clanton and Dr. Joe Wallace were honored for their contributions to grazing livestock nutrition through conducting research, mentoring graduate students in their studies, and establishing the very first GLNC. Although neither Dr. Clanton nor Dr. Wallace was able to make it to Park City, interviews with both men were video recorded prior to GLNC so that GLNC attendees were able to get to know the history of GLNC as well as Dr. Clanton and Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Don Clanton received his B.S. in Animal Science from Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) in 1949, after serving with Aviation Cadets Core Program of the Army Air Corp in World War II. He later received his M.S. from Montana State University, then his Ph.D. from Utah State University. Dr. Clanton then worked at the University of Nebraska, where he pioneered the Beef Cattle Research Program.
Dr. Joe Wallace received his B.S from New Mexico State University in Animal Husbandry. He received his M.S. from Texas A&M, after which he began a career at Burns Research Station of the Eastern Oregon Cattle Research Center in 1958. Dr. Wallace later returned to school and received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He retired after 21 years of service from New Mexico State University where he helped develop a nationally and internationally recognized doctoral program in ruminant nutrition.
On the history of GLNC:
The idea of GLNC was originally started as a way to bring together grazing livestock nutritionists from around the country and have a place where researchers, practitioners, and students have the opportunity to meet new colleagues and explore advances in their field. This first conference’s theme was “40 Years of Grazing Livestock Nutrition Research” and was held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. According to Dr. Clanton, the main focus of the research at this meeting was on the development of techniques to determine intake and digestibility. More recent GLNC meetings have expanded to include an international aspect. Dr. Wallace was impressed by the innovation that has been presented at the most recent meetings, proclaiming that “people are doing things we would have never even thought of in my day.”
On training graduate students:
Both Dr. Clanton and Dr. Wallace mentored numerous graduate students that have gone on to have influential careers in animal science. Dr. Clanton took a hands-off approach in training his graduate students. His motto was “you learn by making mistakes.” Many of his graduate students maintain that this independence in their research taught them a great deal. For Dr. Wallace, the emphasis was on collaboration. He encouraged his graduate students to work together on each others’ projects.