Beef Improvement Federation honors USMARC director
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) presented John Pollak, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center director, Clay Center, Nebraska, a BIF Continuing Service Award June 15 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Manhattan, Kansas.
Continuing Service Award winners have made major contributions to the BIF organization. This includes serving on the board of directors, speaking at BIF conventions, working on BIF guidelines and other behind-the-scenes activities. As BIF is a volunteer organization, it is this contribution of time and passion for the beef cattle industry that moves BIF forward.
Pollak was appointed as U.S. MARC center director in January 2010.
He received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Iowa State University. Pollak started his career in 1975 as an assistant professor in the animal science department at the University of California, Davis.
He completed a 29-plus-year career at Cornell University holding the rank of professor in the animal science department and division leader of the animal breeding group. He currently is an emeritus professor at Cornell University and an adjunct professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
He was the first director of the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium, through which he led the development of programs and projects, fostered interactions among researchers, organized multidisciplinary research teams, built coalitions with industry partners and conducted research. Pollak led the Scientific Organizing Committee of the World Congress on Genetics as Applied to Livestock Production in planning the 2014 international meeting, and has served as a member for two terms (eight years) on the international committee and as the organization’s president for one term.
During his career, he has received numerous awards including Educator of the Year Award and President’s Award from the New York Beef Producers Association, Edgerton Career Teaching Award from Cornell University, Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) and the BIF Pioneer Award.
In 2013, Pollak and his colleague Richard Quaas were selected by BEEF magazine to be among the 50 most influential people in the beef industry during the last 50 years based on their research into the development and implementation of expected progeny differences (EPDs).
–K-State Department of ASI