Ronald L. Horst, Ph.D., Ames, Iowa, received the Award for Meritorious Service given by the American Jersey Cattle Association and the National All-Jersey Inc. in ceremonies June 29, 2019, during the association’s 151st Annual Meeting in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The Award for Meritorious Service is presented to an individual or family who has made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Jersey breed and the livelihood of Jersey owners in the United States through research, education, development, marketing or other significant activities of the allied dairy industry.
The loss of his favorite cow to milk fever as a young boy spurred Horst to pursue scientific nutrient. After obtaining his degrees from West Virginia University and the University of Wisconsin, he joined a physiopathology research unit team at the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) to find a cure for hypocalcemia in dairy cattle. His early research led to the development of monitoring dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) of the ration and feeding anionic salts to modify the blood pH. With the Jersey breed’s sensitivity to hypocalcemia, his work was a game-changer for breeders and nutritionists.
Through his studies on milk fever, Horst gained expertise in calcium metabolism and vitamin D. His team did much of the scientific work on oral calcium supplements to enhance intestinal absorption and bone resorption of calcium which also help prevent hypocalcemia.
Horst’s studies on milk fever were cited as one of the top research findings supported by the National Research Initiative competitive grants program in 2000 and by the U.S. Animal Health Association in 2011 as one of the top 10 cattle health achievements of the past two decades.
His contributions have also been recognized by many organizations including Dean Food and the American Dairy Science Association. Horst was the first non-veterinarian to lead a research group at the NADC and the only one to direct the center.
In 2008, Horst with his wife, Marina, and in-laws established Grand Central Jerseys LLC. They milk 200 cows on the farm in Bristow, Iowa. In addition to their emphasis on herd health and milk quality, Horst also enjoys showing.
The American Jersey Cattle Association was organized in 1868 to improve and promote the Jersey breed. Since 1957, National All-Jersey Inc. has served Jersey owners by promoting the increased production and sale of Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on its programs and services, visit www.USJersey.com or call 614/861-3636.
Note: We are regretful to note Dr. Horst passed away on May 23, 2019, He was recognized posthumously at the AJCA Breeders Banquet.