A nationally and internationally respected researcher of beef cattle health and welfare has been awarded the 2017 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein, PhD, was honoured Aug. 17 at the 2017 Canadian Beef Industry Conference.
Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein is a Senior Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, Alta., and holds adjunct appointments at several universities. She has made phenomenal contributions to advancements in the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian beef industry through her passion and dedication to progressive science, and exceptional collaboration, leadership and communication.
She was honoured to receive the award, stating “Those of you who know me will know that this award means a lot to me. My dream will be to work with the industry as long as I can and to be as useful to you as I can.”
Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein’s scientific leadership is exemplified through her contributions to early disease detection, feeding behaviour, stress assessment, and acidosis, and she has been instrumental in advancing the knowledge and practices related to beef cattle transportation, lameness and pain mitigation. Her research results and expertise has guided the industry through many contributions including updated Canadian Transport Regulations and Canadian Beef Codes of Practice.
Canada is often recognized internationally for its scientific leadership in beef cattle welfare, in large part to Karen’s collaborative, applied, industry-focused research program. Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein is a pioneer in her field. She recognized early on that animal welfare was an emerging field and sensed the public’s growing interest and lack of understanding as to how livestock are produced. Her realization occurred before the industry fully recognized this area as a high priority for research funding, however she persevered and continues to contribute greatly to the sustainability and public trust of Canadian beef production.
“Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein has made an incredibly positive impact on the Canadian beef industry by successfully navigating, engaging and influencing at all levels” said Bryan Thiessen, Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and Manager of Namaka Farms near Strathmore, Alberta. “Without her dedication, the beef industry would be challenged to develop a scientific base that allows beef consumers to maintain a high level of confidence in our farming and ranching operations.”
Dr. Schwartzkopf-Genswein engages all stakeholders in her research to influence changes in livestock management practices that positively impact animal health and welfare. She consults with a large network of industry collaborators including federal and provincial governments and agencies, universities, beef producer associations, and animal health and welfare councils. Her prominence in the field is clearly recognized by her appointment on several national and international committees that are presently setting the standards for on-farm auditing of health and welfare practices in beef cattle production.
“Substantial research under Karen’s leadership has given the industry a solid foundation of science-based information that has helped inform regulation and enabled the industry to develop innovative, applicable management practices that have been adopted and implemented,” added Matt Bowman, Vice-Chair of the BCRC and a producer from Thornloe, Ontario.
Her publication record is outstanding with more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, and she has trained numerous graduate and postdoctoral fellows that now hold major positions in her field both nationally and internationally.
She is often called upon to share her research findings with the beef industry across North America, and at the same time, provide assurances to the concerned public that the rearing and management of cattle is conducted in a humane and caring manner. She is continually invited to speak at beef industry events, to mainstream and agriculture media across the country, and scientific conferences in Canada and internationally. She is able to relate and translate her research results into applied solutions that build both trust and confidence with her respective audiences.