NEAFA Highlight: Dr. Kristan Reed, NEAFA Sesquicentennial Fellow at Cornell


Dr. Kristan Reed, Assistant Professor of Dairy Cattle Nutrition and the NEAFA Sesquicentennial Fellow, is helping change how farmers and researchers assess nutrient cycles, production efficiencies, and resource uses by developing a new Ruminant Farm Systems model.

The NEAFA Sesquicentennial Fellow was created through a successful campaign, due to the generous support of 47 agribusiness companies and individuals, that raised one million dollars to seed two faculty positions within Cornell’s Department of Animal Science. Dr. Reed was appointed in 2018 and Dr. Joe McFadden was appointed in 2017 to the other fellow position. “I think that the NEAFA fellowship is a huge benefit for the agricultural community,” said Reed. “It really helps make sure that my research stays grounded in the realities of dairy production. I work to meet the industry’s needs for information, instead of going down the rabbit hole of something that is interesting but not applicable to problems on the ground. NEAFA has been great about introducing me to industry leaders as well as providing feedback on my thoughts and ideas with the industry in general.”

Growing up in St. Croix in Virgin Islands, Reed came to New York for college and pursued Animal Science for her bachelors degree at Cornell. “While I was shadowing dairy cattle veterinarians, I realized that wasn’t the field I wanted to go into, and I became much more interested in animal agriculture instead of the health side,” said Reed. After Cornell, Reed spent 2.5 years in Lesotho with the Peace Corps, before returning to the US to study animal biology for her Ph.D. in animal biology at UC Davis. During her time at UC Davis, Reed focused on statistical modeling of dairy nutrition.

Reed continued that focus during her post-doctoral work in Madison, WY for the USDA at the Dairy Forage Research Center. “My project there was to look at nitrogen cycling and efficiency at the farm level,” said Reed. “Not just with the cows but how the everything ties back into the rest of the environment. It’s a way to better understand how our management practices and weather patterns effect environmental impacts and production efficiency. The problem Reed ran into however was that the current Ruminant Farm Systems model wasn’t able to keep up with her research, so she’s working on a new and more capable model.

At Cornell, Reed has a research and extension position, with a mandate to conduct extension outreach instead of teaching classes. At this time, her extension and research coincide, where she uses her research and other relevant information to improve management and reduce environmental impact. Reed is looking forward to finishing the new model and making sure it is “accessible and adaptable for numerous users to meet future needs.”

NEAFA is proud to be a sponsor of such important work in the agricultural industry. Dr. Reed was elected to the NEAFA Board of Directors last March and also serves on the NEAFA Agronomy Committee.