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New director selected for USDFRC

Published on 27 January 2020

Dr. Dennis Hancock has been selected as the center director of the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center (USDFRC), Madison, Wisconsin. His appointment was effective Jan. 19, 2020.

Hancock received his bachelor’s in agriculture from Berea College in 1996 and his master’s in plant and soil sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1999. After a stint as the Grant County, Kentucky, extension agent, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2006, while also working full time as the research and extension coordinator for the Precision Agriculture Team.

Hancock served as professor in the crop and soil sciences department and the forage extension specialist at the University of Georgia (UGA) since 2006. Hancock had responsibility for statewide extension and applied research in forage agronomy and forage-based livestock systems (dairy, beef, horse, small ruminants). Hancock led the Sustainable Grazing Systems program at UGA where he and his colleagues conducted comprehensive research to assess best management practices for pasture and grassland crop systems. He successfully led the replacement of an existing plant science farm with a new 660-acre farm, with nine new structures (including a variable-rate irrigation system, equipment storage, specialized sample processing facilities, shop, pesticide storage, grain-drying and storage facilities, farm manager's home and headquarters) with a $14 million budget. The Iron Horse Farm is now used by UGA faculty, staff and students for over 175 research projects. 

He received the two highest awards bestowed by the college of agriculture and environmental sciences and University of Georgia for extension/public service and outreach: the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension and the Walter B. Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach. He is the only Georgia extension specialist to receive the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents' Junior Specialist of the Year and the Senior Specialist of the Year Awards. He also received the American Forage and Grassland Council's Medallion Award, their highest recognition of service to the discipline. 

Hancock is often contacted as part of applied research and technology development projects for advice or as a consultant because of his whole-systems viewpoint and expertise within several subdisciplines and is frequently asked to serve as an adviser and consultant for management issues in and outside of Georgia. Evidence of the widespread recognition of his expertise is the fact that he is in demand as a speaker. During the period 2007-18, he made presentations at 693 events in Georgia alone. He has also spoken at over 100 out-of-state events. 

He has served on the stakeholder committee for the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center and as an adviser to Purdue University's strategic plan for their Ag Experiment Station's research and education centers.  end mark 

—From an American Dairy Science Association Dair-e-news release