Dr. Jennings responsibilities will include cattle feeding trials in the research feedlot at the Conservation and Production Research Laboratory at Bushland as well as with the private sector.

“This is a critical faculty research position in the midst of the cattle feeding capital of the world,” Sweeten said.

The position is a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and West Texas A&M University. Jennings will be located at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.

Jennings, a native of New Haven, Mo., earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Missouri State University, a master’s degree in animal science with an emphasis in animal physiology from the University of Arkansas, and a doctorate in ruminant nutrition at South Dakota State University

Since completing her doctorate, she has worked for Alltech, building the company’s beef cattle research program focused on the cow-calf, stocker and feedlot sectors of the industry. She currently serves as the company’s research manager for ruminant nutrition in North and South America, and oversees Alltech’s Ruminant Physiology Lab in Brookings, S.D.

“This position truly coincides with my research ambitions and overall career goals,” Jennings said. “I am interested in developing strategies that would allow the beef industry a better understanding and manipulation of growth, efficiency and carcass characteristics.”

She is focused on understanding the role of nutrition and how it affects energy metabolism and genetic factors connected to body composition.

“The amount of lean relative to fat tissue in beef determines the value of the product at market and the efficiency and quality of the beef produced,” Jennings said. “By analyzing expression of genes that affect fat cells and muscle formation, we can begin to understand how to manipulate tissue formation and energy utilization.”

She said the knowledge gained from research could be used in adjusting management practices, improving efficiency of gains and developing superior carcasses. Additionally, this research could include how certain management strategies and available technologies can improve animal health, food safety, and the industry’s environmental footprint.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity,” Jennings said. “The ability to pursue innovative ideas will allow me to form a progressive, competitive, nationally recognized research program at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.”

 

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