Daniel Thomson Selected as New Chair of Animal Science at Iowa State University
January 7th, 2020
Daniel Thomson has been named the new chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.
Dr. Thomson is an internationally known leader, researcher and instructor in animal health management, animal welfare and beef cattle production. He has been serving as the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University and founded the Beef Cattle Institute in Kansas State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has been a KSU faculty member for 15 years.
Dr. Thomson will begin his new duties on April 6. He succeeds Donald Beerman, who served as chair of the department since 2015 and retires Jan. 7. John Patience, a professor of animal science at Iowa State, will serve as interim chair of the department through April 6.
A native of Clearfield, Iowa, Dr. Thomson is a third generation bovine veterinarian. He earned two degrees at Iowa State University — a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM). He has a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition from South Dakota State University and a doctorate in ruminant nutrition from Texas Tech University.
“We are tremendously excited and proud to have Dr. Thomson come back to Iowa State in this important role for one of our oldest and most prestigious departments,” said Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean’s Chair of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “His varied expertise will enhance our ability to serve all of our land grant mission, from agriculture to life sciences, from pre-vet to livestock production.”
“It is humbling to come home and work with the great faculty and staff to serve students and stakeholders of animal agriculture in Iowa and beyond,” said Dr. Thomson. “Iowa State University is an international leader in agriculture research, education and outreach. We will continue the land-grant mission of supporting people that feed the world and work diligently with consumers to meet their needs.
"We all have a responsibility to take care of each other by ensuring the sustainability of agriculture businesses through embracing our rural heritage while advancing technology through our animal and life sciences programs to provide a safe, and secure, food supply for a growing global population," he said. "It is great to be coming back home.”
Dr. Thomson hosts the national animal health television show, “Doc Talk,” which reaches over 45 million homes weekly worldwide. His leadership positions in the industry include chairing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Animal Welfare Committee, serving as global co-leader for McDonald’s Beef Health and Welfare Committee, sitting on the YUM! Brand Animal Welfare Council and serving on the Tyson Fresh Meats Animal Welfare Advisory Board.
His honors include the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Distinguished Service Award in 2018, National BQA Educator of the Year from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 2015, the National Excellence in Teaching Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2012 and the Kansas Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture in 2011. In "2010, he was inducted into the Texas Tech University Advanced Degree Graduate Hall of Fame.
Dr. Thomson has published 114 peer-reviewed papers and delivered 865 invited talks internationally on his research and field experience on the interactions between production management, environment and nutrition on the health and well-being of beef cattle. His research program has been granted over $35.3 million. During his career, he has served as director of animal health and well-being for Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, Texas, and as an associate veterinarian with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services in Greeley, Colorado.
The Department of Animal Science is part of the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Iowa State. Established in 1896, it has an international reputation for the quality of its programs in research, teaching and extension. The Department has particular expertise in animal behavior, breeding and genetics, nutrition, meat science, physiology, microbiology, immunobiology and biochemistry, and the intersection of these disciplines with other agricultural and life sciences. The department serves more than 1,000 undergraduate students and over 75 graduate and post-doctoral students, and employs 53 faculty, 22 collaborating faculty and 75 staff. The department also hosts three centers serving animal agriculture: the Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa Beef Center and the Egg Industry Center. It manages the Meat Science Laboratory and, with the college, teaching and research farms devoted to the study of dairy, beef, equine, poultry, sheep and swine.