California continues to produce success stories.
The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) will hold a symposium in honor of California native David Mertens. On Tuesday, ADSA will give four presentations on his work at its annual meeting in Kansas City.
While at the US Department of Agriculture and in the field, Mertens accomplished many things. his work in developing analytical methods to determine minimum fiber requirements for dairy cows; dietary fiber in ruminants (hoofed herbivores such as cows); Mathematical modeling of digestion. His creation of a system for designing optimal rations for dairy cows using dietary fiber has earned him praise.
Mertens was born in Jefferson City and spent most of his youth in California. When he was a senior in California high school, he initially planned to partner with his father for the dairy operations on his family farm. However, after passing the SAT, he was awarded a scholarship and encouraged by a career agriculture teacher to pursue a college degree.
Mertens began studying dairy science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she received a scholarship that supported two years of graduate work. Although he was initially reluctant to continue his studies, his professor insisted on pursuing a Ph.D. at Cornell University. After earning his degree in Nutrition, with a minor in Biochemistry and Biophysics, he went on to teach at Iowa State University and the University of Georgia.
“Finally, he (my professor) convinced me and had the opportunity to work with a well-known researcher in food analysis chemistry and food evaluation,” said Mertens. “I went to Cornell University and then spent 10 years teaching and doing research. Then I came to USDA and did research full time for the rest of my career. And that’s kind of what happened.”
Of his achievements, he said, he is proud to have developed the “NDF (Natural Detergent Fibers) Amylase Processed Method” that measures fibers and foods, and is reproducible for analytical laboratories. Recognized as the international standard for measuring fiber in feed for dairy cows.
A statement sent to the Democrat explained that the method had also been approved by the Society of Official Analytical Chemists. This organization ensures the safety and health impact of food products by working with government, industry and
Given its success, the American Dairy Science Association elected a member of the organization “for lifetime contributions to teaching and research, a recognition given to only less than 0.2 percent of the association’s members.” .
“The use of NDF both in feed evaluation and in encouraging farmers to grow and harvest high-quality forage juices has greatly improved the production and health of dairy cows,” Mertens said. “I (also) worked for a long time in the mid-1980s, trying to show farmers how they could use fiber to formulate better diets for dairy cows. These two things were readily accepted by the farmers and the nutritionist who helped them put together their rations. And that was probably what had the biggest impact.”
This, Mertens said, is what drove him the most in his research. He explained that he had always liked learning new things, whether it was theory or basic science. He has always wanted to make sure that everything he is working on has an application to improve the production and health of dairy cows so they can produce more high-quality human food.
However, all of this is only a fraction of what he has accomplished since receiving his Ph.D. in 1973. The statement sent to The Democrat explains that Mertens had published more than 150 scientific articles, co-authored five chapters in scientific and technical books and traveled to countries such as France, Italy and Sicily, Padua and Denmark for his fiber research. digestion and computer modeling.
The ADSA symposium in recognition of Mertens will be titled “Joint Ruminant Feeding Symposium/Forage and Pasture Symposium: Role of Fiber Analysis and Fiber Digestion in Feed Evaluation and Ration Formulation.”
The four submissions will be the physically effective NDF, the physical properties of the feed and the pass rates”;” Mathematical modeling of ruminant digestion and intake, and the importance of fiber motility”;” Fiber and Laboratory Methods, Analytical Variation and Contributions to Food Analysis”; and Mertens NDF Education, Research, and Application in Feed Evaluation and Ration Formulation. “
Although Dr. Mertens no longer lives in California, he will always acknowledge the positive influences he had that led him to pursue science.
“I have to say, growing up on a dairy farm in California, Missouri, I didn’t expect to get the chance to do the things that I do,” Mertens said. “But I must say that I have had three outstanding teachers who have had a tremendous impact on my life and what I have done. And one of them was actually my[Professional Agriculture Teacher]in California high school. They pushed me further than I expected and got me really interested in things and scientific stuff and how we can use what we’ve learned to help dairy farmers.”