Bennet Cassell, dairy science professor at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., received the National Dairy Herd Information Association’s (NDHIA) Outstanding Service Award last week in San Antonio in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting. The NDHIA Outstanding Service Award honors a person who has dedicated service to improving DHIA and provided notable leadership to advancing DHIA.

As a professor and extension dairy scientist, specializing in genetics and management, Cassell advises producers on genetic improvement of dairy herds and works with DHI programs, particularly the PCDART herd management program.

Cassell’s extension program encourages use of the most recent genetic evaluations in optimal sire selection and mate assignment programs. He provides educational materials to dairy producers and industry personnel on new traits, such as daughter pregnancy rate and maternal calving ease. Cassell’s genetics program encourages producers to use new genetic evaluations appropriately for improvement of lifetime economic merit of dairy cows.

The service award recipient has published numerous articles in lifetime performance of different dairy breeds of dairy cattle, inbreeding depression and progeny testing programs. Cassell is the principal investigator for the Virginia Tech-Kentucky-North Carolina cooperative Holstein-Jersey crossbreeding project.

Through the years, Cassell has developed systems to help dairy producers establish sire selection policies for optimal improvement of lifetime economic merit of their cows as new traits were evaluated and economic conditions changed. He is responsible for extension DHI educational programs and conducts PCDART workshops for producers and extension agents.

National Dairy Herd Information Association