Animal scientist Arthur Pope, who led University of Wisconsin-Madison
sheep research and instruction programs for 43 years, died on July 5
at his home in Verona at the age of 89. He was known throughout rural
Wisconsin for his work with the sheep industry and with 4-H youth
programs, and was highly regarded among students and colleagues as a
teacher and researcher.
Pope”s early studies on the importance of trace elements, such as
cobalt, in livestock rations led to practical methods of supplementing
rations with these essential micronutrients. His studies of sheep
reproduction examined the effects of nutrition on ovulation, embryo
survival and ram fertility. He also worked with animal geneticists to
develop breeding and selection indexes that resulted in the first on-
farm performance-testing program for sheep in the U.S. in 1950. Later
research focused on the role of selenium in metabolism and practical
methods of supplementing sheep rations with selenium.
Pope served as chairman of the university”s Department of Meat and
Animal Science from 1969-80. He was a Fellow of the American Society
of Animal Science and received numerous other professional and
Pope was a sheep producer as well as a scientist. He bought his first
Hampshire ewes as a 4-H project at the age of 15. They served as the
basis for a flock that he nurtured for 73 years, until he was 88, when
he sold it to the UW-River Falls.
He was also a conservationist. To prevent urban development from
destroying the unique geological aspects of his farm just west of
Madison, he helped the Town of Middleton buy a large portion of this
land to create the present 105-acre Pope Farm Park. He took great
pride in the educational and recreational activities offered there.
Pope was born in Idaho and raised in Michigan. He earned a B.S. degree
at Michigan State University, and an M.S. degree in animal nutrition
and a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and animal nutrition at the UW-
Madison. He joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1946 and retired in 1989.