Awards and honors

Society for Range Management honors Stephenson

From the Society for Range Management

Dr. Mitchell Stephenson of Scottsbluff, Neb., received an Outstanding Young Range Professional Award at the Society for Range Management’s (SRM) 71st Annual Meeting, Technical Training, and Trade Show in Sparks, Nev., which concluded earlier this month.

Dr. Mitchell Stephenson Society for Range Management award
Photo: 2018 SRM Outstanding Young Range Professional Award recipient Dr. Mitchell Stephenson with SRM President (2017) Dr. Larry Howery

The Outstanding Young Range Professional Award recognizes SRM members who exhibit superior performance and leadership potential in any range-related area. Dr. Mitchell Stephenson has been with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as an assistant professor in rangeland ecology and management at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center since 2015.

Dr. Stephenson’s research has focused on areas with potential impact on managing grazinglands throughout central and western North America. His research in grazing livestock distribution, targeted grazing, social association dynamics within cattle herds, and rangeland resilience on private ranches is cutting-edge and has placed him in a leadership position in foraging ecology.

He is developing an excellent record in scientific journal publications and leading workshops at professional meetings. As an extension specialist, Dr. Stephenson is developing a highly visible extension program which already has a major impact on beef cattle production in Nebraska. He contributes to the UNL Range Short Course, the Nebraska Range Youth Camp, the High School Range Judging Competitions, the Gudmundsen Sandhills Open House, the Field Day at the Barta Brothers Ranch, and workshops and fields days at numerous other locations. He has co-authored 5 extension publications, numerous webinars, popular press and newsletter articles, and website publications.

With these communications, he has been very effective in distributing research results to the ranch level and to conservation agencies/organizations. Dr. Stephenson’s contributions to the Society for Range Management are significant at both the section and international levels. He is a member of the Nebraska Section SRM, and is in line to be the Section President in 2018. Mitch is a member of several SRM committees and is on track to become a leader in SRM.

For his many accomplishments and contributions, Dr. Mitchell Stephenson is most deserving of this 2018 Society for Range Management Outstanding Young Range Professional Award.

Jack Whittier award

Whittier recognized by Animal Science Society

Dr. Jack C. Whittier, director of the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, has been named the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science (WSASAS) during its annual meeting recently in Fargo, N.D.

Dr. Whittier was raised on a diversified livestock and crop farm in northeastern Utah, and received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science from Utah State University in 1979 and 1981, respectively. Dr. Whittier completed a Ph.D. degree in ruminant nutrition in 1985 from the University of Nebraska.

Since 2014, Dr. Whittier has been Director of the University of Nebraska Panhandle District Panhandle Research and Extension Center and Professor of Animal Science.

He has fulfilled significant leadership roles in WSASAS. Most recently, Dr. Whittier served on the ASAS Board of Directors as Western Section Director for two 3-year terms (2010 to 2016). His applied research has focused on range beef cow nutrition and reproduction management. He has helped generate over $2.2 million in extramural funds as PI or Co-I, participated in training 37 graduate students, and authored or co-authored 49 refereed publications and numerous non-refereed and Extension papers. Currently, Dr. Whittier supervises 12 Ph.D. Research and Extension Specialists and 22 Extension Educators.

Dr. Whittier has contributed as an active leader with Boy Scouts of America, in numerous leadership roles with his church, and with the Scottsbluff/Gering Rotary Club. Dr. Whittier and his wife, Robynn, have two grown sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. They also own a small-scale Simmental-Angus seedstock beef herd.

The Distinguished Service Award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health and the Western Section of ASAS.