The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) presented Alison Van Eenennaam, genomics and biotechnology researcher and cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), a BIF Continuing Service Award June 15 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Manhattan, Kan.
Continuing Service Award winners have made major contributions to the BIF organization. This includes serving on the board of directors, speaking at BIF conventions, working on BIF guidelines and other behind-the-scenes activities. As BIF is a volunteer organization, it is this contribution of time and passion for the beef cattle industry that propels BIF forward.
Van Eenennaam received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from UC Davis. The mission of her extension program is “to provide research and education on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.” Her extension program focuses on the development of science-based educational materials, including the controversial biotechnologies of genetic engineering (GE) and cloning.
She was the lead author on the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) 2014 report “The Potential Impacts of Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food in the United States.” She has served on several national committees, including the USDA National Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, and as a temporary voting member of the 2010 FDA Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee meeting on the AquAdvantage salmon, the first genetically engineered animal to be evaluated for entry into the food supply.
Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the 2010 National Award for Excellence in Extension from the American Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Award.
Bill Muir, Purdue University professor of animal sciences, said, “Dr. Van Eenennaam is the single most important mover and shaker addressing a wide range of issues related to regulation and acceptance of transgenic technology. If this important technology is ever accepted in the U.S. or abroad, it will be largely due to the advocacy of Dr. Van Eenennaam using science to quell the hype of the fearmongers … Alison is much more than just an advocate for GE technology. She is at the forefront of all new biotechnologies as related to animal production.”
More than 600 beef producers, academia and industry representatives were in attendance at the organization’s 48th annual convention. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.
*This article is provided as a news release by the Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry.