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Larry Satter, UW-Madison Dairy Scientist, Dead At 69

Larry D. Satter, a well-known expert in dairy nutrition with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, died on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006 at the age of 69.

Satter retired in 2003 after a distinguished career as Professor of Dairy Science in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and a researcher at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. He served as the center”s director from 1987 until 1998.

Satter joined the UW-Madison in 1960 as a graduate student in dairy science. He received a doctorate in biochemistry and dairy science in 1964 and joined the faculty of the dairy science department the same year. He joined the dairy forage center in 1981 while retaining his appointment on the dairy science faculty.

Satter”s research focused on improving the economic and environmental sustainability of livestock farming systems, particularly of dairy operations. He played a central role in developing current understanding of how protein is digested in ruminant animals. His work also led to more accurate dietary recommendations for nitrogen and phosphorus in ruminant diets. Both lines of study have helped reduce feeding costs for farmers.

Later in his career, Satter expanded his field of study to include environmental impacts of livestock farming. To that end, his research sought to refine the use of nitrogen and phosphorus supplements in dairy and beef diets in order to minimize the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus excreted in livestock manure.

Throughout his career, Satter was willing to reassess and correct strongly held beliefs about ruminant nutrition.

“He was someone who could be trusted to tell you the truth about what the data did and didn”t say,” says Glen Broderick, a dairy science professor who worked with Satter at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. “This is one of the most important things he brought to the Dairy Forage Center as a scientist and then as a director. Our center still enjoys a reputation for high-quality science derived at least in part from the moral authority of our long-time leader.”

Satter was involved in many professional organizations and received a variety of awards and accolades throughout the course of his career, including the Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“To be Larry”s student was to be his friend and his colleague,” says Broderick, who chose Satter as an advisor for his graduate work. “Larry Satter was a rare and fine individual who made friends easily and whose special qualities made those friends loyal for life.”

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Cress Funeral Home in Madison.

The family requests that any donations be sent to the Driftless Area Land Conservancy, the University of Wisconsin Foundation (designated for dairy science and Association of Women in Agriculture scholarships), or the American Cancer Society.