Agriculture and grazing systems researchers join CSU’s AgNext

Three additions to enhance growing livestock sustainability program.

October 7, 2021

3 Min Read
beef cows and calves
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Colorado State University recently announced three additions to join the growing livestock sustainability program. Previously known as the Sustainable Livestock Systems Collaborative, AgNext is a first-of-its-kind research center tasked with identifying and scaling innovation that fosters the health of animals and ecosystems to create more sustainable, resilient and regenerative food systems. In addition, AgNext has revealed a new visual identity and online presence to share the latest news and encourage conversations on sustainability, food systems, and agriculture space.

Advancing the science of livestock systems

Joining AgNext as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of animal science is Logan Thompson, PhD. Thompson’s research primarily focuses on emission mitigation from beef cattle to ensure high-quality and healthy products while yielding minimal environmental impact.

In his prior roles at Michigan State University and Oklahoma State University, Thompson analyzed the impact management decisions had on beef cattle grazing and worked on quantifying methane emissions from cattle grazing. Thompson’s previous work drives his passion for researching and identifying grazing management strategies that reduce environmental impacts and improve the economic returns for those who raise beef cattle.

John Sheehan, PhD, joins AgNext as a research scientist where he focuses on systems thinking and its applications to agriculture. In particular, Sheehan studies biofuels, modeling of sustainable agriculture, life cycle assessment, land use change and issues related to sustainable land use and sustainable development.

Sheehan’s varied background and experiences, encompassing biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals and renewable energy systems, has sharpened his focus on systems analysis of crop, animal and energy systems. In addition to his work with W.R. Grace & Company, the Initiative on Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and algae startup LiveFuels Inc., Sheehan also spent time at the University of Campinas in Brazil where he studied grazing system yield gaps.

Lastly, Jenn “JR” Rieskamp comes to AgNext as the manager of communications where she leads strategy and public relations for the program. Prior to her role at AgNext, Rieskamp served as the community liaison specialist with Off-Campus Life at CSU and Neighborhood Services at the City of Fort Collins. Originally from Missouri, she moved to Colorado ten years ago and has spent eight years working in community engagement and outreach for CSU.

Looking ahead

“Research is the foundation of all the work we do at CSU,” said Dr. James Pritchett, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “AgNext brings together the brightest minds in agriculture, from scientists to industry professionals, to identify credible and science-based strategies to empower producers and our agricultural systems.”

With a heightened sociopolitical awareness of sustainability challenges and an abundance of misconceptions drawing attention to the global agricultural industry, AgNext aims to bring together the brightest and most passionate minds to advance the science of animal agriculture ensuring a continued safe, secure and nutritious food supply.

“New and different perspectives are crucial in developing sustainable livestock practices,” said Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, AgNext director. “AgNext is thrilled to welcome Logan, John and Jenn to the team. Working with leading experts like them will drive the scientific discovery in building sustainable animal agriculture systems.”

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