The MSU chair focuses on beef cattle production in the South East



Screenplay: Sarah Buckleitner

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — A new professorship at Mississippi State University will focus on advancing beef cattle production in the state and the Southeast. Brandi Karisch, associate professor of extension and research in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, is Milton Sundbeck’s first endowed professor in cattle management in the South East.

Created by Milton Sundbeck, founder and owner of West Point-based Southern Ionics Incorporated, the university’s new College of Agriculture and Life Sciences endowment fund will make it easier to make research available to producers.

Sundbeck is a beef cattle producer and owner of Town Creek Farm, a large beef cattle operation. The farm is dedicated to the production of registered Brangus and Ultrablack cattle, hay and wildlife management.

George Hopper, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, stressed the importance of endowment.

“We are grateful to Milton Sundbeck for establishing the first endowed chair in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences,” said Hopper. “This donation will ensure that research and extension efforts in beef cattle production meet the needs of small producers to improve their profitability. “

John Blanton Jr., animal and dairy science professor and department head, said the donation would advance the department’s mission.

“The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences is dedicated to developing scientific solutions to the problems facing producers. Professor Milton Sundbeck’s Chair in South East Beef Cattle Management enables the department to advance this mission in beef cattle management, ”he said.

Blanton said that in selecting a scientist for the professorship, Karisch turned out to be the perfect fit.

“We needed someone with a proven track record in research and awareness raising in feed beef cattle production and with experience in solving problems affecting producers in the Southeastern United States. In addition, this person must have demonstrated success in managing subsidies, as well as having significant impacts on producers. Dr. Karisch has met or exceeded all of these requirements, ”said Blanton.

Mississippi has 930,000 head of cattle on nearly 16,000 farms, and the combination of small farms, grass-based production systems and warm temperatures repeatedly creates challenges for producers in Mississippi and the south. is.

Karisch, a scientist at the university’s Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, addresses these concerns by researching techniques that growers can apply to their own practices. Additionally, Karisch serves as a cattle extension specialist, giving him the ability to translate science into best management practices that can be implemented on the farm.

“Small producers may not always be able to afford certain practices, and one goal is to help them find ways to better use their time and effort. One of our current research initiatives is to examine whether changing the timing of vaccines can have an impact on calf health. Producers understand the importance of vaccination, so it is a practice that can be applied by all producers to improve the health reputation of livestock in the southeast, ”said Karisch.

One of his most common recommendations to producers is to use breeds of cattle that are well suited to warmer climates. “Breed for your environment: If you live in a hot climate, choose cattle that have shorter coats and are heat tolerant. “

Karisch regularly communicates research results to producers in the form of short courses and programs, including an upcoming program for women beef producers, highlighting handling techniques and other essential skills.

During extension programs that highlight new production techniques, Karisch also takes the time to listen to producers’ concerns and challenges, which in turn guides future research and extension efforts. “Our goal is to help improve results for producers,” said Karisch.

Karisch holds a BA from Louisiana State University and an MA and PhD from Texas A&M University.

The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences offers a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Business and Industry, Production Management, and Veterinary Science / Science. Masters and doctoral degrees are also offered in agriculture and agricultural sciences. The department includes faculty members from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experimental Station, and the MSU Extension Service. Learn more about the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at

MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at

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