The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences announces the promotion of Amanda Blair to assistant director of SDSU West River Research and Extension.
Blair is a professor in the Department of Animal Science at SDSU. Along with a primary research appointment, she served as the SDSU Extension meat science specialist. Blair co-leads a recently awarded $80 million Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities grant focused on beef and bison systems, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service program.
In her new administrative role, Blair will provide leadership to college research personnel located in Rapid City, including faculty, staff and students. She will also provide oversight to the SDSU Cottonwood Field Station located near Philip.
Kristi Cammack, assistant dean of West River operations for the college, said with the growing success the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is experiencing West River in South Dakota, greater administrative leadership and support is needed to ensure that level of success continues.
“Research and outreach activities have been booming in West River along with a growing number of faculty and students in the departments of Animal Science, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science, and Natural Resource Management based West River,” Cammack said. “Amanda is a highly respected faculty member and has held leadership roles within the college and university. Having Amanda in a leadership role West River will help ensure we continue our trajectory of success.”
The Cottonwood Field Station serves as SDSU’s primary livestock research facility West River. With recent investments by the South Dakota Legislature, the Cottonwood station is undergoing a major upgrade that includes new classroom, livestock handling and feedlot facilities. “Amanda comes from a production background and continues to be active in her family’s ranching operation near Sturgis,” Cammack said. “She is a member of the team working on the Cottonwood Field Station remodel project, and her practical experience and knowledge is key to ensuring the station operates optimally for both research and production.”
Blair grew up on a small, diversified farm in southeastern Indiana and received her bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Purdue University. Her doctoral research focused on understanding the interactions between muscle ultrastructure and postmortem proteolysis with the goal of improving beef tenderness. Since joining the faculty at SDSU, her research has expanded to focus on understanding the effects of pre- and post-natal management strategies on subsequent growth, body composition, environmental outcomes and meat quality of beef cattle and bison.
Blair assumed her new role on Aug. 22 and continues to be based at the West River Research and Extension facility in Rapid City.
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