Congrats to ARS departmental award winners Matt Akins and Jamie Reichert

CALS Agricultural Research Stations recently honored individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the ARS program at its annual Recognition Awards Reception and Dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Matt Akins and Jamie Reichert from the department of Animal & Dairy Sciences were two of this year’s recipients.

Jamie Reichert- Service Award

As Manager of the Swine Research and Teaching Center (SRTC) at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station for more than 16 years, Jamie Reichert has been a great leader and UW employee. He has served on the ARS Committee, and also given his (and his employees’) time to participate in search and screen committees.  Reichert has also worked extensively with the Arlington’s feed mill crew on improving efficiencies in both feed and labor. He has made the SRTC available for tours and as a meeting place for visitors to the station.  

Most recently, Reichert has taken on the role of Arlington ARS internet services liaison due to his experience with wiring the SRTC and other animal science facilities. He spent a lot of time and effort to install a net of high-speed internet hotspots to connect Arlington’s shop, feed mill, agronomy and public events building to the main headquarters hub. Thanks to his help, station personnel are spending less time waiting for content to load and more time accomplishing the work at hand.  

Matt Akins- Research Award

Matt Akins, an honorary associate in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, conducts agronomy-based research that focuses on nutrient value and yield of annual forages and cover crops. He is an avid user of the Agricultural Research Station network, running studies at Marshfield, Hancock, Arlington, and Peninsular ARS stations. Akins actively disseminates his findings through popular conferences such as Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin events, World Dairy Expo, and Farm Technology Days, as well as Extension’s Badger Dairy Insight webinars. As a scientist, Akins stands out for his level of input and involvement. He works evenings and weekends collecting data, helping students, planting or harvesting plots, and working in pastures. He will not shy away from undesirable tasks as he is often seen in coveralls splattered with manure, or with green-stained hands from harvesting forage plots.

Akins’ unmatched work ethic is paired with a great attitude. Conducting agronomic work at MARS, for example, has proven to be challenging at times due to environmental conditions, but Akins always seems to make the most out of it due to his no-quit mentality. He has been a professional every step of the way. He communicates articulately with farmers and station visitors, and has played a large role in the development of the academic career of many students. Since joining UW in 2015, he has advised graduate students, supervised undergraduate students, and mentored seven international visiting scholars/post-doctorate researchers.