SDSU department of animal science names 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

South Dakota State University Extension
Duane Wulf, pictured here with his family, is the recipient of the 2021 SDSU department of animal science Distinguished Alumni Award.

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Duane Wulf received the 2021 South Dakota State University Department of Animal Science Distinguished Alumni Award on April 16 at the department’s annual awards program.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of the department whose accomplishments have impacted the agriculture industry, communities and individuals across the state, nation and world. Contributions of Distinguished Alumni include outstanding professional accomplishment, sustained service to agriculture or distinguished leadership.

Originally from Morris, Minn., Wulf graduated from SDSU with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science in 1989 and 1993, respectively. While an undergraduate student, Wulf was a member of the 1987 meat judging team, academic quadrathlon team and Block and Bridle. He later received his doctorate from Colorado State University before accepting a position as an assistant professor and state meat Extension specialist at The Ohio State University. Three years later, Wulf transitioned back to SDSU as a professor of animal science with teaching and research appointments. 

During his 10 years as a faculty member at SDSU, Wulf was recognized for his strong teaching ability through his numerous accolades, including the 2001 and 2007 College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences Teacher of the Year Award and the 2007 American Meat Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award. 

In 2009, Wulf and his family moved to Mexico to pursue mission work. His mission’s goal included providing practical education, training and career opportunities to fatherless and underprivileged youth, which he accomplished by establishing The Fatted Calf, a nonprofit organization dedicated to glorifying and obeying God by providing training and career development to underprivileged youth. Through the organization, Wulf and his team created three businesses to provide an avenue for youth to develop these career-essential skills: Carnisimo, a value-added meat processing company; Rancho Agua Viva, a cattle ranch and seedstock company; and Carnisimo Burgers, a restaurant. He was also part of a group that established Expo Esperanza, a youth summer program and exposition similar to county fairs in the U.S.

After dedicating 10 years to mission work in Mexico, Wulf moved back to the U.S. and currently serves as an associate professor at the University of Arizona. 

Wulf attributes being on the meat judging team and later coaching the team as a graduate student at SDSU for leading him to his career in meat science and teaching. Having numerous former students become leaders in the industry, making their own impact and improving the lives of those around them has proven to be one of his biggest accomplishments throughout his career.

“I can think of no one that practices the core values of SDSU’s current mission and vision any better than Duane and Ann Wulf,” said Rosie Nold, department of animal science assistant department head. “Dr. Wulf has been and continues to be people-centered, inclusive and innovative. He has used his animal and meat science skills to help bring life-changing improvements to the quality of life of youth and others. We are very proud to have him as a distinguished alumni of the animal science department.”