Beef group honors Va. Tech professor with award
BLACKSBURG, Md. — Virginia Tech’s Dr. Scott Greiner is a man who makes things happen for the people he serves.
This characteristic was recognized earlier this year when the Beef Improvement Federation presented him a Continuing Service Award for his contributions to the cattle industry.
BIF, a national organization, gives continuing service awards to individuals who have made major contributions to BIF over the years. Greiner easily falls into this slot. BIF traced his volunteer work with the group to his days a graduate student.
His career focuses on the livestock industry and the people in it. BIF reported he provides research-based education and outreach on the science and application of beef and sheep production to livestock producers, Extensions agents and allied-industry professionals.
“We have to make sure we are meeting the needs of our clients,” Greiner said in a recent interview.
Greiner talked about his career and BIF seated behind his desk in Litton-Reaves Hall on campus.
He credited the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association with leading the way in developing seedstock and genetics that cattle buyers wanted as demands changed. He called BCIA’s two bull test stations a primary activity in doing this.
Greiner noted that the Virginia BCIA has remained strong while this is not the case of such organizations in some other states.
“Historically, Virginia breeders have been extremely progressive in adopting new technology and change,” he said.
He sees their willingness to use the new technologies that have become available to them and the ability to change their ways of doing things as assets.
Greiner noted that as the industry has evolved the value of data collected by BCIA has diminished due to some of the new technology.
“What hasn’t changed is the importance of customer service,” he stressed. “Importance is on providing a high value product you can document.”
He praised the state’s seedstock producers for working together to do this.
“It’s been a lot of fun to facilitate and foster this,” he said with a smile. “I’m very fortunate to work here with great people. I’m just along for the ride.”
While the cattle have undergone a lot of changes during the years marketing them has also change tremendously. He pointed to the Virginia Quality Assurance program as a major marketing factor. He credits the visionary industry and Extension leaders in the state for VQA’s development over 20 years ago, prior to Greiner’s arrival at Virginia Tech.
“Our livestock industries are continually challenged,” Greiner said. Agents and specialists continue to evolve to meet these challenges.”
One of the big changes for these ag advisors is how they communicate with their clients, he observed.
Face to face meetings, programs and individual visits were the norm 25 years ago, he reported. Today the agents and specialists have a stable of communication tools at their disposal. These include webinars, internet and various types of social media.
“The resources are tremendous,” Greiner declared. “We are continuing to be at the forefront of it.”
Even in the day of mostly face to face communication, not every program or method of sharing information fit every situation. That continues today.
“Be balanced,” he continued. “That’s the challenge I’ve seen. Our clientele is extremely diversified in what they need. Virginia has some of the very best cattle operations in the United States. Their needs are very different from new people entering the industry. We can’t meet the needs of all the people the same way.”
Greiner enjoys working with youth and is a strong believer in 4-H. He said he is a product of a farm background and 4-H.
“4-H livestock activities and livestock judging were a pretty important part of my life,” he said. “Working with youth is a chance to give back.”
He and his wife Lori who also has a 4-H background encourage daughters Kaylee and Leah in their 4-H activities.
Greiner is a firm believer that livestock projects and judging is a vehicle for developing life skills. He believes youth can learn the skills of setting and achieving goals, time management, reasoning and explaining their reasons verbally in this activity. He sees them using their skills in all kinds of life situations from farming to working on Wall Street.
“We help make them very educated agriculture advocates,” he declared.
Greiner’s association with BIF began early and has continued, reaching far beyond his job here.
“Scott first became involved in BIF as a Ph.D. student at Iowa State, where he was involved in the early research with carcass ultrasound,” Darrh Bullock, BIF eastern region secretary, reported.
“Specifically, this included the establishment of policies and procedures for the centralized ultrasound processing, and assembly of data for breed association genetic evaluations along with standards for ultrasound technician proficiency and certification.”
BIF reported that Greiner has devoted his time to the agriculture industry by serving in various roles, including being a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association beef production committee, the U.S. Beef Breeds Council, Ultrasound Guidelines Council, the Virginia Department of Agriculture Animal Identification Working Group, a Virginia Cattlemen’s Association Educational advisor, a Virginia Sheep Producers Association Educational advisor and as the superintendent of the National Collegiate Livestock Judging contest.
The award was presented during the group’s annual meeting and symposium. It was attended by over 500 members of the industry.
CORRECTION: The first version of this story online and in print incorrectly identified the Beef Improvement Federation. It has been corrected.
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