11/14/2016 12:00:00 AM
SDSU Graduate Student Earns National Cattlemen's Foundation Scholarship
BROOKINGS, S.D. - Megan
Webb, a South Dakota State University meat science graduate student, has been
chosen as a recipient of the prestigious W.D. Farr Scholarship from the
National Cattlemen's Foundation (NCF). Webb joined the Animal Science
Department as a Graduate Research Assistant in January 2015 to pursue her Ph.D.
While at SDSU, Webb has been involved in several meat science research projects
focusing on the impacts of pre-harvest management on end-product quality. Her
most recent project has involved establishing a multi-disciplinary team of
researchers, including experts beyond SDSU, to study consumers' response to
beef raised with and without common production technologies, such as
antibiotics, implants, and beta-agonists.
Webb is utilizing a consumer taste panel to see if preferences for meat
products are changed when pre-harvest management techniques are disclosed to
consumers. She is and will continue to work with USDA Agriculture Research
Service and Agriculture Marketing Service to evaluate sustainability data of
treatments with the objective of developing beef marketing labels that provide
transparency. Ultimately the goal of the study is to determine if there is a
preferred marketing language depending on production method, and if consumers
have a preference in beef palatability and willingness-to-pay. Further, live
cattle performance and economic data will be analyzed to guide producers when
making production decisions.
Another SDSU study that Webb managed is aimed at helping cow-calf producers by
examining the effects of nursing-calf implant timing on growth performance and
carcass characteristics. She has also collaborated on a project evaluating the
effects of maternal protein restriction of first-time heifers during mid- to
late-gestation on carcass composition and meat quality of progeny.
Webb credits her Doctorate Advisor, Amanda Blair, SDSU Meat Science Associate
Professor, for believing in her and guiding her development as a researcher.
Webb said, "Dr. Blair's mentorship and support are the reasons why I was
able to achieve this award. Receiving this award is humbling as it has been
bestowed upon several of my peers and role models in the beef industry."
She added, "Winning the scholarship means that I have grown
professionally and conducted research important to the beef industry."
Webb greatly appreciates the support of all the authors and professors involved
in the projects she has worked on at SDSU and said, "As a graduate
student, the best part about the Animal Science Department is the collaborative
The ability to collaborate with other meat scientists, nutritionists,
geneticists, veterinarians and industry personnel has provided Webb with
endless research thought and support. "Having a group of professors who
are willing to work together to solve challenging and dynamic questions made
SDSU the right choice for me," said Webb.
The $12,000 scholarship is awarded to two recipients annually to honor W.D.
Farr who was a third generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and
banker known for his extraordinary vision. His dedication to improving
agriculture, livestock, and water development has resulted in significant
changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and
farmers throughout the nation, according to the NCF's website. Webb added that
Mr. Farr was known as a community man who offered opportunities for others and
said that now it's her turn to pay it forward.
In addition to receiving $12,000 in scholarship funds, Webb will also be a
guest at the 2017 National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention in
A native of Burlington, W.V., Webb, received a Bachelor's Degree in Animal
Science with a Meat Science Certification from Texas A&M before earning a
Master's Degree at Colorado State University in 2014. While attending Texas
A&M University, Webb became familiar with a quote from fellow Jackrabbit
Dr. Howard Hesby, a well-known Animal Science Professor at both universities, -
"Don't let the classroom interfere with your education." Webb said
the quote is one she holds dear that has been her education backbone.
Webb chose SDSU after taking note of past graduates' success in industry,
academia and as entrepreneurs. "Seeing those students perform well engaged
me and made me want to come to SDSU to be mentored by Dr. Blair and Dr. Keith
Underwood," she said.
Webb plans to receive her Ph.D. in December 2017 with the hope of obtaining a
liaison position in the beef industry between the producer, processor, and
consumer to improve transparency and build consumer trust.
In a letter recommending Webb for this scholarship, Blair said, "Megan is
motivated to pursue creative solutions to increase transparency with consumers
and drive demand for beef. It is very rare to find an individual with such a
positive attitude, academic ability and enthusiasm for this industry. I am
confident Megan will continue to develop into an influential leader in the beef
industry, providing scientific guidance to difficult production questions as
well as effectively training future stakeholders."
About the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture & Biological
Sciences is one of the eight colleges that make up South Dakota State University.
Like the university, the College serves a three-fold mission to teach, conduct
research, and provide outreach via SDSU Extension programs to serve people in
South Dakota, the nation, and the world. Learn more at http://www.sdstate.edu/abs.