There”s not enough room on one line to include all the titles Neal Jorgensen held during his four decades at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. After adding his national and international positions, you”ve filled a good-sized paragraph. Jorgensen”s contributions to science and agriculture – and his career-long service to Wisconsin and the University – have earned him the College”s Distinguished Service Award for 1998.
Jorgensen grew up on a dairy farm near Luck, Wis. Coming to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960, he combined his farm background and love for science to earn master”s and doctorate degrees in dairy science.
Jorgensen has trained more than 65 graduate students, many of whom are now leaders in science and industry worldwide. His lab produced hundreds of publications and abstracts in dairy science and biochemistry, and his teaching has earned him awards from the College, student organizations, and the American Dairy Science Association.
“As a graduate student, you want to work on something that might make a difference. In Neal”s lab, you always felt that what you were working on had relevance,” says former student Randy Shaver, who is now extension dairy nutritionist at UW-Madison. “Neal has always been very practical, and has a good knowledge of what is important to the dairy industry. His programs for dairy producers have always been closely tied to farmers” needs.”
His work on forage particle size underpins much of the research being done today. As a dairy nutritionist, he has been a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops. He served on the National Research Council”s Committee on Animal Nutrition and developed the Applied Dairy Nutrition program for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
“Collaborative research with Neal Jorgensen was and still is one of the most fruitful and pleasurable experiences I have had,” says Hector DeLuca, chairman of the CALS biochemistry department. “The major reasons are the sound scientific basis of all of Neal”s work, his dedication to real science, the great respect for the opinions of other scientists and especially those of students. Neal”s reputation as a nutritional and dairy scientist was and is widespread even today, as a visit to any dairy science department in the country will reveal. Neal also has a remarkable talent of bringing together people with widely divergent opinions such that agreement is easily reached – truly a statesman of science!”
Jorgensen has influenced dairy research priorities and programming in Wisconsin, the nation and the world. He has served on the board of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, on the review team for the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, on the Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the NRC”s Board on Agriculture, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on research, extension and farm policy. He chaired the Subcommittee on Animal Systems that developed the National Research Initiative competitive grants program of USDA”s Cooperative Research, Education and Extension Service. He was the first chair of the National Genetics Resources Advisory Council.
Jorgensen has been active in dozens of professional organizations and producer groups. He has served as president of the American Dairy Science Association, and on the ADSA Foundation board of directors. He chaired Farm Progress Days Inc. of Wisconsin, and served on the boards of several other Wisconsin farm organizations.