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UNL animal science professor gets teaching award


University of Nebraska-Lincoln animal science professor Chris Calkins has been named Educator of the Year by the North American Meat Processors Association.

Calkins was honored at an NAMP conference in Chicago, last month.

Calkins, the Nebraska Beef Industry Professor of Animal Science at UNL, was honored for such accomplishments as development of new cutting procedures for the beef chuck and for veal. Many companies in the meat industry are reaping the benefits of Calkins' research in muscle use, by selling previously undervalued cuts from the carcass.

NAMP President Michael Strauss of the Colorado Boxed Beef Company, who presented the award, said, "We present this award with grateful appreciation and recognition of Dr. Calkins' untiring efforts and valuable contributions towards meat education, and for his deep loyalty in carrying out his responsibilities with enviable pride and professionalism that brings credit to both himself and the University of Nebraska.

"And for his friendship and his commitment to excellence in assisting the meat and other food industries, we hold in high honor and esteem Dr. Chris Calkins," Strauss added.

In accepting the award, Calkins in turn praised NAMP for its leadership in helping the industry and its members.

In 2004, Calkins' muscle profiling research team was awarded the International Meat Secretariat World Prize for Meat Science and Technology, the only time the prize has ever been awarded in the U.S.

Calkins has been on UNL's animal science faculty since 1981. He conducts research on muscle characterization, objective grading technology, meat quality, and the effects of feeding wet distillers grains on beef quality. He is active as a college adviser and teacher, as well.

He is a past president of the American Meat Science Association and a teacher fellow of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

A native of Washington State, Calkins received his bachelor's and doctorate degrees from Texas A&M University in animal science with an emphasis in meat science and muscle biology. He earned his master's degree in food science and technology from the University of Tennessee.

NAMP presents the Harry L. Rudnick Educator of the Year Award each spring at its annual management conference to an educator who has made outstanding contributions in the field of meat science education. The award was established in 1969.

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