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The Livestock Forage Centre of Excellence is located south of Clavet. Supplied photo.

U of S appoints new director for its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has appointed Kris Ringwall as the new director of its Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE), a powerhouse for innovative research, teaching and industry engagement in all aspects of livestock and forage production.

The $38-million world-class complex of field and science laboratories will officially open next week. Two new research and teaching units are located south of Clavet, Sask., while a third is located southeast of Saskatoon.

Ringwall, who will begin work at the centre on Nov. 1, is currently director of the North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center. He is also an NDSU extension livestock specialist who is passionate about sharing the great story of agriculture and the people who produce food for the world.

“We all have roots in agriculture,” said Ringwall. “The excitement of helping to create, guide and ultimately implement research and education involving livestock and agricultural products of the soil will be a driving force within the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence, ultimately impacting future generations.”

Ringwall is committed to listening to producers and researchers, recognizing that working together will result in positive outcomes for everyone – researchers, producers and consumers.

The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence is a unique initiative, with the director reporting to the deans of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Ringwall will also work with the centre’s Strategic Advisory Board that includes representatives from the university, the provincial and federal governments, and the livestock and forage sectors.

“Kris is an exceptional match for the LFCE’s broad mission and its large family of partnerships. He has a long and productive career in research, extension and outreach targeting both the livestock and forage industries,” said Dr. Douglas Freeman, dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Through his work as the director of a research and extension centre in the northern prairie region in North Dakota, Kris has gained an international reputation for his innovative research work, his ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, and his skills as a thoughtful and collaborative partner. We’re thrilled to have someone of Kris’ calibre join us at the U of S.” 

Mary Buhr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, said Ringwall has a long list of responsibilities as the new centre is in its infancy.

“He will be working to iron out all the wrinkles of two brand-new facilities. He is in charge of pulling the entire centre together when it hasn’t existed before. He’ll be building a team and helping people from the three units work together when they haven’t before,” she said.

“Kris will also be in charge of helping researchers to get their research done. He will be overseeing the building and construction that still needs to happen and he will be overseeing all the management of the land. He will also be out and about, meeting with producers and industry leaders.”

Comprising 27 quarters of land in two locations, the LFCE operates three units:  

  • the Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit, south of Clavet, which includes a 1,500-head capacity feedlot and intensive environmental monitoring;
  • the Forage and Cow-Calf Research and Teaching Unit, also south of Clavet, which includes 300 breeding cows; and
  • the Goodale Research Farm, southeast of Saskatoon near Floral, which includes 165 breeding cows as well as horses, bison and deer for research. The Goodale farm will be upgraded in 2019.

While Ringwall is new to Canada, he is not unknown in Canadian livestock circles. He has spoken at conferences in Canada and he writes a weekly column, BeefTalk, offering advice that’s applicable to producers on both sides of the border. The column has appeared in Canadian Cattlemen magazine and other Glacier FarmMedia publications.

Ringwall completed his bachelor’s of science in agriculture from NDSU before studying at Oklahoma State University where he earned a master’s degree in animal science and a PhD in animal breeding. He enjoys working in the areas of genetics and reproductive physiology, as well as general management of beef, sheep and goats.

Ringwall and his wife Marian, who have six adult children, will live on an acreage near the Clavet facilities.

Ringwall succeeds Kathy Larson, who has served as the centre’s interim director since February.

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