Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
June 22-25, 2021 • Iowa Event Center • Des Moines, Iowa

Van Eenennaam Presented BIF Pioneer Award

BIF honors UC–Davis extension beef geneticist with Pioneer Award.

Story & photo provided by Beef Improvement Federation

Alison Van Eenennaam (right) of the University of California–Davis receives the BIF Pioneer Award. Presenting the award is Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor and extension beef geneticist.

MANHATTAN, Kan. (June 24, 2021) — The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) presented Alison Van Eenennaam, Davis, Calif., the BIF Pioneer Award June 24 during its annual research symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor and extension beef genetics specialist, presented the award.

The Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle, honoring those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle.

Throughout her career Van Eenennaam has proven to be an ardent communicator of science to perhaps the broadest audience of any extension specialist in memory. Through her past work with the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) in “validating” commercially available DNA tests to her more recent work related to gene editing in livestock, she has shown that she is not afraid to tackle politically charged issues. Her academic career has generated 110 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 700 invited talks, and $15 million in extramural support for research and outreach benefiting agriculture.

“Her engagement at a national and international level in the education of scientists, producers, policy makers, and the general public related to the potential benefits of advanced technologies such as gene editing,” says Spangler. “Her steadfast dedication to science and education related to the use of advanced biotechnologies.”

Van Eenennaam has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2019 American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Rockefeller Prentice Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics, 2016 BIF Continuing Service Award, and the 2014 ASAS Extension Award.

More than 400 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended the BIF’s 53rd Annual Research Symposium & Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, and another 250 registered to participate online. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners, Angus Media coverage of the symposium and an archive to coverage of past conferences, go to

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