Don Kress Receives BIF Pioneer Award

Don Kress (right), emeritus professor in the department of animal and range sciences at Montana State University, receives a Pioneer Award from 2005 BIF President Jimmy Holliman.

BILLINGS, Mont. (July 7, 2005) — The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored Don Kress with the Pioneer Award during the organization’s 37th annual meeting July 6-9, 2005, in Billings, Mont. The award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle.

Born in 1942, Kress was raised on a beef cattle, hay and small grains operation in southeastern Idaho. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Idaho, where he was recognized as outstanding senior. He received his master’s degree in 1966 and his doctorate in 1969, both from the University of Wisconsin, in animal science, genetics and statistics. He became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota in 1969.

In 1970 he started his career as an assistant professor at Montana State University (MSU) in the department of animal and range sciences, where he subsequently became associate professor in 1975 and full professor in 1980. Kress taught courses focusing on beef cattle and genetics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He mentored more than two dozen graduate students and established a cooperative beef cattle research program with the Northern Agricultural Research Center near Havre, Mont.

His research emphasized beef cattle genetics and breeding, genetics of beef cow size and cow efficiency, crossbreeding systems, maternal and paternal heterosis, selection for scrotal circumference and antagonistic traits, and genetics of carcass characteristics. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific and technical publications and more than 100 abstracts.

Kress is a recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award in the College of Agriculture and the Teaching Excellence Award from MSU Alumni and Bozeman Chamber of Commerce. He received the prestigious Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award, recognizing animal breeding and genetics research, from the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS). He also authored a first-place paper in the Best Applied Research Paper competition of the ASAS Western Section.

In 1999 he became associate dean of the MSU College of Agriculture, where he provided leadership and coordination of the resident instruction programs. He retired March 31, 2005, after 35 years of service to MSU and the beef cattle industry. He is currently emeritus professor in the department of animal and range sciences.

BIF was formed as a means to standardize programs and methodology and to create greater awareness, acceptance and usage of beef cattle performance concepts. More information can be found on the organization’s Web site,