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New Hire Matt Akins, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Published on 07 January 2015

Matt Akins

Matt Akins
Dairy Management Specialist
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, Wisconsin


What education are you bringing with you to this position?

I earned a bachelor's in animal science from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, a master's degree in animal science from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. in dairy science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The focus of my previous research was dairy and beef cattle nutrition.

Please describe your agricultural background.
My immediate family lived in a suburb of Milwaukee and did not operate a farm; however, I often visited and worked on my uncle's and grandmother's dairy farm to which I attribute my passion for agriculture. During high school and college, I also worked for a local beef and horse farm.

What territory will you cover?
As an extension specialist I will be working with producers and industry professionals throughout Wisconsin. I will be based at the Marshfield Agriculture Research Station, which raises replacement dairy heifers for the UW – Madison dairy herd.

What are your new responsibilities?
My main responsibilities will be developing and conducting an integrated applied research and extension program on dairy heifer management. This includes identifying problems needing research, designing and conducting research projects, and communicating these findings to producers, industry and academia. In addition, mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students that perform the research will be an important responsibility. A main focus will be on heifer nutrition, but it will incorporate other areas including genetics, reproduction and environmental impacts with the nutrition research.

What previous positions have you held?
During the past two years, I taught animal nutrition courses at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.

Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
I would have to say my grandmother had the largest impact as she sparked my interest in agriculture at an early age. However, I think there are numerous others that have had positive impacts on my life and career path, especially academic advisors that had great advice and provided great opportunities.

How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I will be a resource to help producers and industry professionals solve problems related to dairy heifer production.

Why did you choose this company?
I chose the University of Wisconsin – Madison because of the great impact the dairy science department has not only had on Wisconsin, but also on the world dairy industry. I wanted to be a part of this team to help the dairy industry continue to thrive. As previously completing my Ph.D. at UW – Madison, I knew how great the faculty, staff and students are to work with and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of it.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
Research and information from it can improve the results of decisions made by producers. My goal is to provide relevant, research-based information that helps dairy farms make informed decisions to better manage dairy heifer production. PD

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