National Dairy Shrine named Dr. Ric Grummer of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Emeritus Professor, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), the respected dairy cattle nutrition researcher, educator, and consultant whose lifetime of industry leading work in transition cow nutrition and management has benefited dairy farmers worldwide as a recipient of their 2021 Pioneer Award.
Grummer is one of four individuals being honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award this year in recognition of their significant contributions to the dairy industry. Grummer will join a distinguished group of industry leaders whose portraits and stories are displayed in National Dairy Shrine’s Dairy Hall of Fame and Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
Born in 1955, Dr. Grummer obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science from the UW in 1977 and his Master’s (1980) and Ph.D. (1984) degrees in Dairy Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He joined the UW Department of Dairy Science as an Assistant Professor in 1984 with research and teaching responsibilities. During his 26-year career at the UW he progressed to the rank of Professor and served as the Dairy Science Department’s Chair from 2004-10.
Grummer’s early research at the UW evaluated the effects of bypass fats, oilseeds and tallow on rumen fermentation and lactation performance that led to practical recommendations for dairy producers to optimize milk fat production. His most impactful research, however, came in the “transition cow” area. As Dr. Randy Shaver, Professor Emeritus from the UW Dairy Science Department, declares, “Dr. Ric Grummer is arguably the ‘Founding Father’ of contemporary transition cow feeding and management.” The prevention of fatty liver and ketosis, and the negative consequences of these disorders, were of particular interest to Grummer. His lab was the first to demonstrate that supplemental choline, when fed in a protected form, was effective in preventing
and alleviating fatty liver and could increase postpartum feed intake and milk production. Grummer’s nutritional research and on-farm management strategies were widely adopted by dairy producers and brought about vast improvements in the transition of dairy cows from the dry period to early lactation.
Grummer was appointed to the National Research Council’s Subcommittee on Dairy Cattle Nutrition that wrote the 2001 revision of the Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. In addition to authoring or contributing to several chapters of that publication, Grummer’s studies on behalf of the committee also led to the equations for predicting dry matter intake of transition cows, estimates which became
benchmarks for use on commercial dairies. As a result of his research, Grummer received the American Feed Industry Award (1995), Nutrition Professionals Applied Nutrition Award (2004), and American Dairy Science Association’s “Fellow” Award (2010), and in 2002 was named a “Highly Cited Researcher” by the Institute of Scientific Information. “His ability to deliver dairy management information to varied audiences that is relevant, emerging science, innovative, actionable and impactful at the dairy farm level is possibly Dr. Grummer’s most notable attribute,” observes James Barmore of GPS Dairy Consulting in Wisconsin.
As Chair of the UW’s Dairy Science Department for six years he directed departmental efforts in creating new admission procedures, scholarship fundraising and recruitment marketing that resulted in increased undergraduate enrollment. His leadership helped bring about the building of a new state-of-the-art, UW dairy research facility at Arlington, Wisconsin, in 2007. As a teacher, he trained and mentored a generation of students “that have gone on to impact the dairy industry throughout Wisconsin, the U.S. and the world,” says Dr. Paul Fricke, UW Dairy Science Professor. In 1994, Grummer earned the UW College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Advisor Award of Merit.
Following Grummer’s retirement from the UW in 2010, he took on a new challenge becoming Ruminant Technical Director, and later a consultant until 2018, for Balchem Corporation.
Grummer served on the Board of Directors for the American Dairy Science Association and was on the Research Advisory Committee of both Farmland Industries and the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation. He was also a familiar face around World Dairy Expo as Assistant Superintendent for the Brown Swiss breed.This article was posted in News.