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AMES, Iowa — Joining Iowa State University as an extension specialist had been on Patrick Wall’s radar screen for years, so when the southeast area position became available he jumped at the opportunity to apply. As the newly hired southeast Iowa beef program specialist, he’s already learning from his predecessor Byron Leu.
“I’ve worked with a number of the field specialists during my career and have admired what the group does for producers,” Wall said. “Their work is always very applied and driven toward producer profitability.”
From growing up on a diversified grain and livestock farm near Bradford in central Illinois to his most recent professional position with the American Shorthorn Association, Wall said each experience provided unique opportunities to mold and shape his future in the meat industry.
“I attended Black Hawk East College in Kewanee, Illinois, on a scholarship for livestock judging and learned there was much more to the livestock production than what I knew in my family’s fences,” he said. “An internship focused on collecting carcass data spurred interest in meats and how genetics and management could influence quality.”
Wall said he wanted to attend a premier animal science program and to eventually obtain a job in the Midwest, so the decision to transfer to Iowa State was easy. And with academic success and encouragement from Iowa State people who knew him, choosing to earn a masters degree and learn about carcass ultrasound technology at Iowa State was an even easier decision.
“My teaching and coaching experience at the collegiate level should help prepare me for the educational part of this new position,” he said. “Working at The National CUP (Centralized Ultrasound Processing) Lab and for the American Shorthorn Association were both roles that serviced beef producers of all sizes, scopes, and production goals. The field specialist does both: education and service, so the fit seems pretty logical.”
Wall said his primary focus areas have been genetic selection and carcass endpoint, because producer decisions start with genetic selection and see the results of that selection with the carcass endpoint. In this extension role, he hopes to help producers tie these two together in managing their cows but said he isn’t an expert in all areas.
“The field specialists and campus staff members have compiled a team that can answer the call — whatever a producer needs. If I don’t know the answer, it’s likely someone else on my team does,” he said. “The diversity of the Iowa Beef Center is one of the major strengths of the group.”
Iowa Beef Center director Dan Loy agreed.
“We’re pleased to welcome Patrick to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and to the Iowa Beef Center team. He joins a team of dedicated and knowledgeable beef specialists,” Loy said. “He brings industry experience and expertise that complement and strengthen our efforts to provide research-based information and education to Iowa’s beef industry.”
Wall’s immediate plans are to learn about existing programs and educational efforts, and then pursue individual interests and opportunities such as heifer development, alternative grazing and youth development work. But he said family will remain a priority.
“I want to be a good husband and dad first, and then a great resource to Iowa beef producers,” he said. “Hopefully I bring a fresh progressive mind to the Iowa Beef Center group and a new perspective to the Iowa beef program specialists.”
Wall is housed at the Marion County extension office and can be reached by phone at 515-450-7665 and by email at email@example.com.