Jones to receive the Mark and Eva Gardiner Innovation and Excellence Faculty Award at K-State

Cassie Jones, K-State Animal Sciences and Industry professor and teaching coordinator, has been selected to receive the 2023 Mark and Eva Gardiner Innovation and Excellence Faculty Award. 

Jones joined the K-State faculty in 2012 after earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from K-State and a doctoral degree in nutritional sciences from Iowa State University. Jones has taught more than 2,500 students in eight different classes. She currently teaches freshman orientation, fundamentals of nutrition, principles of feeding and monogastric nutrition. She is a faculty advisor to more than 80 students and serves as teaching coordinator for the ASI major, which is the largest major on campus. 

In addition to her contributions in teaching, Jones leads a highly productive research program that focuses on preventing disease transmission through the feed supply chain, including the prevention of foreign animal disease. Collectively, she has published more than 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts and $8 million in grants and gifts to support K-State’s teaching and research programs.  

Jones is also the recipient of the 2023 University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the 2022 U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Regional Teaching Award in Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the 2021 Mortar Board Outstanding Faculty Award. 

She and her husband, Spencer, have three children, Ty, Hayden and Hadley, and raise Angus cattle in Wabaunsee County. 

“We are grateful to Mark and Eva for recognizing Cassie with this award. She is one of the most productive faculty members in the department with a tremendous capacity to positively impact our teaching, research and extension missions in ASI,” said Ernie Minton, dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. 

In announcing the award, Mark Gardiner said, “As K-State alums and generational beef producers, our family is profoundly aware of the value of our education at the nation’s first land grant university. If American agriculture continues to be the world’s beacon to address global food insecurity through agriculture and meat protein production, faculty members like Dr. Cassie Jones will lead us to those outcomes. Eva and I are grateful for her commitment to excellence at K-State.” 

Gardiner Angus Ranch is a family owned and operated beef operation that produces registered and commercial Angus cattle. The original ranch was homesteaded near Ashland, Kan., in 1885 by Henry Gardiner’s grandfather. Today, Gardiner Angus Ranch is one of the largest registered Angus seedstock and commercial operations in America and continues to make genetic advancements using only artificial insemination and embryo transfer. 

US Beef Breeds Council elects officers

The US Beef Breeds Council met in late April electing new officers to preside over the organization and discuss upcoming goals. Past President Montie Soules, American Shorthorn Association oversaw the meeting and election of officers. American Wagyu Association’s Executive Director Robert Williams was elected president and will serve a two-year term.

The USBBC is comprised of United States beef breed executives. While addressing shared concerns and goals all breed associations are faced with the USBBC also oversees the appointment of the Ultrasound Guidelines Council executive director and board of directors.

“The US Beef Breeds Council is an opportunity for the executive officers of the national beef breed associations to network, exchange ideas, and identify common ground where we can speak as one voice to support America’s beef industry in areas of critical interest,” Williams said.

Mark Anderson of the North American Limousin Foundation was elected vice president of the USBBC. “The ability to serve the beef industry on a united front on issues that enhance the economic environment, superior production practices and profitability of beef producers now and into the future is critical to the USBBC. Working together as one effectively increases the ability to support American beef producers.”

During the April meeting, Patrick Wall, executive director of the Ultrasound Guidelines Council gave an update on the ongoing improvement of ultrasound technology to improve the capture of valuable carcass traits. Through the leadership of the USBBC, establishment of the Ultrasound Guidelines Council in 2001 has led to stronger genetic prediction of carcass merit for the U.S. beef industry. “The UGC board has been committed to improving the accuracy of established technology as well as assessing the consistency of new digital ultrasound platforms,” Wall said.

“The US Beef Breeds Council unites all U.S. beef breeds as a strong front against those in opposition of animal agriculture and the beef industry. All our members are affected in the same way. If we unite we will be able to use all our strengths in multiple ways”, said USBBC past President Soules.

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