Animal care nurtured by emphasis on science
KEEDYSVILLE, Md. — In late January of this year, the University of Maryland Extension Service welcomed Dr. Amanda Grev, the new statewide pasture management specialist.
Grev has been enthusiastically received to the position, vacant since the retirement of Dr. Lester Vough a few years ago.
A native of the outskirts of Rochester, Minn., Grev originally planned to head to veterinary school when she completed her undergraduate degree with a double major in equine and animal science at North Dakota State University.
“I was always interested in animal science, particularly veterinary science and medicine,” said Grev, explaining it was because of a research internship at Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky.,, she “decided on grad school rather than vet school.”
“That internship exposed me to a lot of the science-based side of nutrition and how it impacts animals,” she continued.
Her desire to focus on the nutrition aspect brought her back to her home state and the University of Minnesota where she focused her graduate work on the interaction between animal nutrition, forages and pasture management, a focus she’s also brought to her work at the University of Maryland.
“I try to look at finding a good balance between the animal nutrition and the forages,” she said. “You want a high enough quality and quantity while not damaging the pasture.”
Grev hopes to impart that focus through her position’s responsibilities which include “anything from working with producers one-on-one to provide advice to supporting county Extension staff” in their daily efforts out in the field. And, although her position doesn’t include classroom responsibilities, Grev has already teamed up with both campus faculty and Extension staff doing lectures to agriculture science students of the former and presenting at field days put together with the latter.
In fact, Grev hopes “to start implementing a lot more educational opportunities and events across the state” similar to the Tri-State Pasture Field Days, of which the first of three was held in mid-August at UM’s Western Maryland Research and Education Center.
The remaining two sessions were held in Shenandoah, W.Va., in late August and Middleburg, Va., in September. At the UM event, which attracted more than four dozen attendees representing a mix of livestock farmers from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Grev did presentations on fall pasture management and maintenance.
Other educational opportunities she hopes to include would be to bring a grazing school to Maryland’s livestock and equine communities. “It would be a two-day intensive school focused on grazing similar to the ones that have been so successful in Georgia and Virginia,” explained Grev.
Last, she hopes to “get some forage research going to continue to work on improving knowledge of foraging and grazing” both within the region and nationally. Towards that end, she explained, “It’s always helpful when there are producers who are experimenting with ideas on their own because then you find out what is and isn’t working.”
“I really value having that two-way relationship between Extension staff and producers,” Grev added. “It’s a really essential part of a successful Extension program.”
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