NDSU Extension hires new beef cattle specialist

North Dakota State University Extension
Zachary Carlson

Zachary Carlson has joined North Dakota State University Extension as the beef cattle specialist.

He will devote 70% of his time to extension and 30% to research. His extension responsibilities include statewide programing that will offer improvements to existing production practices, as well as alternative practices and concepts. He also will be involved in training extension personnel so they can have an impact in their community.

“This position is well designed so that my extension work will direct my research focus,” Carlson says. “My training is in beef cattle nutrition, so inherently my research will have some focus on nutrition, but my aim is to perform applied research that provides in-depth, alternative options for beef cattle producers, as well as increase production efficiencies for all segments of beef cattle production.”

He grew up in Stanchfield, Minnesota. For part of his life, his family owned a 100-head dairy operation. Throughout high school, he worked on a neighbor’s dairy operation. He also was involved in 4-H and showed cattle, sheep and pigs.

Carlson earned his undergraduate degree in animal science from North Dakota State University in 2014 and a master's degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also received a Ph.D. in animal science from UNL this spring. His Ph.D. research evaluated several areas of the beef industry, including alternative cow-calf production involving feedlot confinement and cover crop grazing, yearling grazing systems and implant programs in heifers on finishing diets.

“I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to come back to NDSU and serve the beef cattle producers of this state,” he says. “My experiences here in undergrad are what led me to my career path and I couldn’t think of a better place to work. It is a unique privilege to work alongside many of my lifelong mentors.

“In addition, I am excited to work with such a great extension team,” he adds. “I am really looking forward to building relationships with the people of North Dakota in the beef cattle industry.”

Charlie Stoltenow, assistant extension director for agriculture and natural resources, said “We are extremely happy to have Zac return to us here at NDSU Extension. He brings enthusiasm, has had great training at UNL and has the skills necessary to be an effective extension beef specialist. Besides his training in ruminant nutrition, Dr. Carlson has a keen interest in helping our producers utilize data to help make management decisions.”