Dr. Les Hansen Named National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor - Cowsmo

Dr. Les Hansen Named National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor

The National Dairy Shrine has selected Dr. Les Hansen as the 2023 Guest of Honor. This award recognizes exemplary dairy leaders for their accomplishments and contributions to the dairy industry. It’s the highest level of recognition awarded by the Dairy Shrine.

Dr. Hansen currently serves as a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota. While his research, teaching, advising, and volunteering has been based primarily at the University of Minnesota, his work has created a profound ripple effect across the dairy industry. He is regarded as a world expert on dairy cattle genetics—especially with regard to crossbreeding—and is a dedicated and highly respected researcher. As a master at turning technical information into an engaging and relatable presentation, he is a popular choice for speaking to dairy producer audiences internationally. Over 20 years, he has made 45 trips to 21 countries as an invited speaker, sharing his research with both scientific and dairy producer audiences.

In addition to conducting and disseminating internationally impactful dairy cattle genetics research, Dr. Hansen has dedicated his career to the success of 4-H youth, dairy science students, graduate students and intercollegiate dairy cattle judging teams. He has a knack for motivating youth to commit the time necessary to be successful in collegiate dairy cattle judging. Students enjoy participating in his judging program because practices are nurturing and supportive. Apart from sustained success in contests, the outcome has been self-confidence, public speaking skills, decision-making skills, teamwork and many other skills of benefit to his

Dr. Hansen’s graduate students’ success speaks volumes of his passion for dairy cattle genetics. They’re making ongoing contributions to the dairy industry through AI companies and academia, including Trans Ova Genetics, ABS Global, Zoetis, URUS, the University of Maine, and more.

Within the American Dairy Science Association, Dr. Hansen is the only person in history to ever be presented with three prestigious awards: the dairy production teaching award, the research award for respective area for research, and the Hoard’s Dairyman youth development award. These recognitions are just a small sampling of Dr. Hansen’s honors over the years. Other awards include the Morse-Alumni distinguished teaching award from the University of Minnesota and the distinguished service award from Minnesota DHIA.

John Meyer, CEO of Holstein Association USA says, “Dr. Hansen is one of the most recognized dairy cattle geneticists in the world. His curious mind, willingness to take on complex, and at times controversial subjects has helped to expand the minds of dairy cattle breeders around the globe.”

Mike Schultz has had the privilege of working with Dr. Hansen both as one of his students and as a colleague at the University of Minnesota. He says, “As with many influential research scholars, the legacy of Dr. Hansen’s efforts rests in the continuation provided by an accomplished group of graduate students. A hallmark of his philosophy of training graduate students is to recruit students with a ‘feel’ for dairy cattle and their management, to mentor them and provoke thought, and to turn them loose to investigate issues of contemporary importance. While he has been magnificent at championing and promoting the work of his students, the true impact of the students’ work is continued in their future careers.”

Dr. Hansen will receive the Guest of Honor award at Dairy Shrine’s Awards Banquet on Monday, October 2nd in Madison, Wisconsin. His portrait will be displayed in Dairy Shrine’s Dairy Hall of Fame and Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. For more information about Dairy Shrine, the banquet or this year’s award winners, please contact Dairy Shrine at
[email protected] or visit their website at www.dairyshrine.org.

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