The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has appointed Kristi Cammack as Assistant Dean of West River Operations and Director of SDSU West River Research and Extension in Rapid City, South Dakota. In this position, Cammack will guide the operations of SDSU’s Cottonwood Field Station near Philip and the West River Research Farm at Sturgis. She will also continue to provide oversight of staff, research and outreach activities at the West River Research and Extension Center.
Cammack has served as Director of West River Research and Extension since 2016.
“Dr. Cammack’s role and contributions have increased dramatically during her time at SDSU, and we are excited to provide her with an opportunity to move into this position that better reflects her contributions to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences,” said Joe Cassady, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
During her time at SDSU, Cammack has been instrumental in establishing the Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Program, a collaboration between the Indian University of North America, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and South Dakota State University. In her role as Wizipan Program Director, she has coordinated this immersive, semester-long academic experience which is grounded in Lakota philosophy. Students receive an experiential education combining coursework in American Indian studies, natural resource management, global food systems and leadership.
When the SDSU Center of Excellence for Bison Studies was formally launched in September 2020, Cammack was named the first Director. The center focuses on research activities to improve bison herd health and the economic viability to benefit both private and tribal bison producers. The Bison COE is a partnership between SDSU, the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation.
Most recently, Cammack’s leadership also helped secure the largest grant award in SDSU history, announced in September 2022. She is the principal investigator for the $80 million USDA Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative grant project entitled, “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: Developing Climate-Smart Beef and Bison Commodities.” The project will reward producers for implementing climate-smart grazing and land management practices, researching novel practices and creating market opportunities for beef and bison producers.
Originally from a crop and livestock farm near Platte, South Dakota, Cammack received her bachelor’s degree in animal science at SDSU before pursuing a master’s degree in animal science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Ph.D in animal science from the University of Missouri. She then spent 10 years conducting research and teaching at the University of Wyoming as an associate professor of animal science in breeding and genetics. Her research focused on understanding the role of rumen microbes in the feed efficiency of host ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep.
In her new role, Cammack will continue to lead efforts to facilitate integrated research to benefit South Dakotans, both through the field stations in western South Dakota and with researchers on the SDSU campus.
For more information about SDSU West River Research and Extension and SDSU field stations, visit the West River Research and Extension page. Cammack can be contacted at Kristi.Cammack@sdstate.edu, or by calling West River Research and Extension at 605-394-2236.