Internationally-renowned beef cattle endocrinologist Dr Jim Kinder will call CQUniversity Rockhampton North’s CQIRP facility home for the next 12 months, boosting the expertise of the livestock research team.
Professor Kinder hails from the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute and has joined CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management team for a 12-month sabbatical.
For Professor Kinder and his wife Denva, the move marks something of a home-coming, having first worked in Rockhampton’s livestock research facilities in 1992-93, when the former JM Rendel Laboratories were run by CSIRO. They are now badged as the Central Queensland Innovation and Research Precinct (CQIRP).
“It’s great to be back here – in fact I was working in this very same building and we still have lots of good friends in Rockhampton and other parts of Australia from when we were first here 20-odd years ago,” he said.
Professor Kinder said CQUniversity’s growing reputation and unique interest in the use of technology to understand livestock behaviour were key selling points to return.
CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management research team, headed by Professor Dave Swain, is developing automated data-gathering tools to monitor the condition and behaviour of individual animals, in order to help graziers make more informed production and marketing decisions.
“When I considered taking a sabbatical I researched the possibilities and took advice from people here in Australia whose opinions I value, and they were telling about what is happening at CQUniversity in building relationships with the beef cattle sector and I was particularly intrigued by the cattle research program being undertaken here,” he said.
“It’s fascinating because we really don’t know that much about cattle behaviour, and it’s something that I’ve touched on a little in my career with regards to the influence of hormones on behaviour, so I considered coming to CQUniversity was something that I would benefit from.”
Professor Kinder was also excited by CQUniversity’s determination to buck international trends and grow its agricultural program.
“As I look worldwide at the lack of appreciation for agriculture in society, I do see the use of technology – like what is being used here – as something that will encourage more young students into the industry.”
During his stay, Professor Kinder will draw on his immense record of research publication and editing of research papers to provide students with advice on developing their hypotheses, processes for undertaking their research, and reporting results in line with international quality standards.
“The thing that I’ve really got to offer is a strong background in the reproductive biology of beef cattle and I hope to bring that focus to the work the students and staff are doing here at CQUniversity,” Professor Kinder said.
“At Ohio, I was heavily involved in the University’s administration so I’m also keen to share what I can with CQUniversity about the use of technology for information transfer with the staff, students and the community.
“But most of all I enjoy being a mentor – that’s where I get most satisfaction. And to succeed in university administration you need to get satisfaction from seeing your students succeed, and this is what will, in turn, lead to success for your institution.”
Professor Kinder hopes to return home to Ohio State University, which is sponsoring his sabbatical, with a new group of lifelong friends.
“Since my first visit we’ve had a number of friends from Australia come to Ohio and stay in our home, and I’ve already been in contact with a number of old colleagues in different parts of Australia. You just never know where these friendships will take you in the future.”
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