A dairy scientist who is also a popular speaker on reproduction strategies won this year”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences” Pound Extension Award for excellence.
Dr. Paul Fricke, Associate Professor and UW-Madison Extension Specialist in Dairy Cattle Reproduction, marks the third consecutive year that a dairy science faculty member received the award.
“It is a big honor for me to be recognized for the work I”m doing by the faculty in our department,” said Fricke. “For me, an award like this is recognition by my peers that what I”m doing is worthwhile and important.”
Fricke was first nominated for the award by Dr. Kent Weigel, Associate Professor and UW-Madison Extension Specialist in Dairy Cattle Genetics.
“Paul was an easy candidate for me to recommend for this award,” said Weigel. “I think he has done an amazing job of getting reproductive tools into the field and being aggressive at doing so. He can really relate to producers and explain new technologies in the most effective way.”
The Pound Extension Award is based on the ability of faculty to effectively integrate research and outreach, attract funding, establish national recognition, and use effective evaluation technologies that clearly demonstrate impact.
“In a very short period of time, Paul has garnered a significant reputation both regionally, nationally and internationally for his unique ability to convey scientific findings on reproduction to producers, individuals in the A.I. industry and veterinarians,” said Dr. Ric Grummer, UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science Chair.
Ten years ago, Fricke came to UW-Madison and accepted a position as a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratories of Dr. Milo Wiltbank, Professor of Reproductive Physiology
“The reason I came to UW-Madison was to specialize in dairy because there is no better place than Wisconsin to do that. It was the best career move I ever made,” said Fricke.
“I arrived right when Milo finished the first studies with the Ovsynch protocol used for estrus synchronization. I came in at the right time since the research was just recently completed,” explained Fricke. “My job then became focused on taking that information and putting it in place on the farms.”
Fricke”s extension program currently focuses on maximizing reproductive efficiency of dairy cattle by applying knowledge gained through basic scientific research to develop practical management programs and technologies for use in dairy cattle operations.
Fricke said he also focuses on integrating his research into his extension work, which aims at developing and improving reproductive management in dairy cattle, specifically with synchronization protocols.
“Paul has a 25% research appointment in addition to his 75% extension appointment,” explained Grummer. “His involvement in research, and the level of scrutiny of scientific literature that it requires, enables him to be a better extension specialist because he is on top of what is going on and can immediately report findings to the industry.”
In order to fund his research, Fricke works closely with companies in the industry, which have been eager to support his extension program. He then uses these investments for further research and innovative presentations to benefit dairy producers and other industry businesses.
Fricke explained that he incorporates three components into every extension presentation to make them successful.
“I first try to present new and novel research-based information,” Fricke explained. “Then I try to explain it in a way that the audience can understand it and use it, and finally I try to incorporate a bit of humor into my presentations.”
He believes that the combination of these three elements is what drives the demand for him as a speaker.
Since 1997, Fricke has spoken to over 300 audiences in Wisconsin and has presented over 80 invited papers at conferences in 23 US states and 5 Canadian Provinces. In addition, he has been invited to nine other countries with audiences composed of dairy producers, industry professionals, and veterinarians.
Besides the numerous other presentations he”s made this past year, Fricke spoke to 350 sales and service personnel from the US and Canada at the Select Sires sales conference in Plain City, Ohio.
“Dr Fricke”s natural speaking style and excellent teaching skills made him a great choice to update our sales team on the new technologies for reproductive programs for our US dairymen. He did a fantastic job educating and entertaining this group,” said David Thorbahn, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Select Sires, Inc. “Select Sires feels that Paul Fricke, in tandem with Milo Wiltbank, provides a combination for one of the strongest research and extension dairy reproduction labs in the US.”
In addition to the praise Fricke receives from industry professionals, Grummer also believes that Fricke has a unique gift when it comes to speaking.
“Everyone likes to listen to his presentations since he has the ability to take complex material and boil it down to a level that everyone can understand and appreciate,” said Grummer. “We really value his talents in both research and extension that he has contributed to our department.”
Fricke plans to stay at the forefront of reproductive research to deliver the most innovative protocols to the dairy industry.
“In the future, I plan to continue developing reproductive management strategies,” said Fricke. “I also hope to help communicate these approaches to dairy producers and others in the industry for years to come.