John Matsushima named 2013 Citizen of the West
The National Western Stock Show has named John Matsushima, Ph.D., the 2013 Citizen of the West. He will accept the award at a dinner on Jan. 14, at the National Western Events Center.
The Citizen of the West, selected by a committee of community leaders, is an annual award given to individuals who embody the spirit and determination of the Western pioneer, and who are committed to perpetuating the West's agricultural heritage and ideals. Net proceeds from this event go to support 74 annual scholarships awarded by the National Western Scholarship Trust.
Born to immigrant parents from Japan who began farming in Lafayette, Colo., and eventually Platteville, John's love of cattle began at an early age. His involvement with 4-H, NWSS, and county fairs, where his steer beat another young rancher named Ken Monfort (1991 Citizen of the West), only encouraged his interest.
After graduating as valedictorian of Platteville High School, he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees at Colorado State University (then Colorado A&M College) in Animal Husbandry. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota.
Matsushima then began his long career of teaching and research in beef nutrition. Although he began teaching at the University of Nebraska, Warren Monfort and CSU President William E. Morgan soon lured him back to the Fort Collins campus. He has mentored thousands of students and worked with hundreds of them on his many research projects.
"Dr. Matsushima is a highly regarded pioneer in the cattle feeding industry," William Wailes, former chair of CSU's Department Animal Sciences, said. "His development of steam-processed corn grain into 'corn flakes' in the 60s is still used worldwide today to increase efficiency in cattle feeding technology in producing nutritious concentrated protein for the human diet."
Pat Grant, former president of the National Western Stock Show, talks about how huge Matsushima is in the world of cattle and beef production.
"Johnny has overseen world renowned research into cattle feeding; this has led to his being a big influence on the quality, taste and tenderness of our best beef," Grant said. "He has helped to open doors to export of our beef to many foreign nations. I do not know of anybody worldwide who has done more to improve beef than Johnny."
Matsushima has written several books including an autobiography and authored numerous publications. He has given speeches and shared his research with people all over the US and in 25 other countries. He has received countless awards and accolades and even had awards named after him. The most notable award he received was "Tenno Hosho", the Emperor's Citation, given by the Emperor of Japan. This prestigious award is primarily reserved for presidents, prime ministers and CEOs of major corporations. Despite all this, he remains a modest man and gives credit to his wife and his many students, colleagues and friends.
As Grant said, "John Matsushima is an eternal optimist and problem solver, he views challenges as opportunities and his achievements know no boundaries. Although influential around the world, he will always be a man of the American West."
John and his late wife, Dorothy, have two children and four grandchildren.