Jordan honored with Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Ellen Jordan, 972-952-9212, e-jordan2@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Ellen Jordan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state dairy specialist in Dallas, was honored with the Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in the Extension specialist/program specialist category.

Dr. Ellen Jordan, center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service dairy specialist, receives her Vice Chancellor’s award from Dr. Mark Hussey, left, Texas A&M AgriLife vice chancellor, and Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director, in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Jordan received her award at ceremonies held on the Texas A&M University campus recently.

The Vice Chancellor awards program was established in 1980 to recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife.

Jordan has made exemplary contributions to the dairy industry in Texas and across the nation over the past 36 years, her nomination stated. She has built a strong program and is well known as a leader and collaborator for innovative advances in dairy Extension programming.

Her expertise and knowledge base is required and requested from the northernmost regions of the Texas Panhandle where some of the largest dairy producers are located down to the older, established regions in the Stephenville area, the nomination stated.

“In addition to the education and research, Dr. Jordan is a passionate advocate of the dairy industry and rural Texas,” said Joe Osterkamp, Texas Association of Dairymen chairman, in a letter of support. “She has spent countless hours speaking on behalf and in support of the dairy owners and the industry in which they work.

“She is always ready, not only with a well-spoken statement, but the research and information to back it up. In a time when modern agriculture is constantly under attack by groups who disagree with our current production practices, it is a great benefit to have someone of Dr. Jordan’s stature on our side.”

Another letter writer, Dr. Dwain Bunting with ADM Animal Nutrition in Lubbock, said, “At the national level, Ellen has been a tireless contributor to almost every key organization that develops future leaders, researchers and Extension specialists across the U.S. For more than 20 years, she was a key leader and the educational soul of the Texas Animal Nutrition Council, which has been the key commercial organization for the education and professional development of regional academic and commercial specialists working in dairy nutrition and veterinary science in our region.”

Jordan’s AgriLife Extension program has concentrated on improving reproductive efficiency, the nomination stated, adding her efforts in a multi-pronged technology transfer effort have resulted in dramatic increases in conception rates and subsequent herd profitability.

She worked with a University of Florida researcher to explore strategies to allow producers to overcome the “estrous detection roadblock” to summer conception, her nomination continued. Jordan worked with veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies, computer-assisted herd record improvement software entities and artificial insemination, or AI, companies to transfer the use of timed AI using the HeatSynch protocol to a year-round technique to improve fertility.

“Not only did Dr. Jordan promote the new methodology in Texas, but she was an invited speaker from coast-to-coast regarding the HeatSynch protocol and a systems approach to reproduction that started prepartum,” the nomination stated.

Jordan was also instrumental in providing the research data required to demonstrate the safety of cooling ponds used throughout the southeastern U.S., and ultimately the changing of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance so producers could use this methodology to enhance cow comfort while insuring a safe food supply, according to the nomination.

Today, cow comfort in the summer is improved on over 90 percent of the dairy farms in Texas with adoption of some type of cow cooling at an estimated net return to producers of $37 per cow/year, or $13.9 million annually statewide, the nomination stated.  

Jordan also played a key role in the growth and development of the dairy industry over the southern Ogallala Aquifer, where specialized educational opportunities and research were required for large herd owners operating in an arid climate and growing many of their own forages.

In 2006, the High Plains Dairy Conference was born as a collaborative effort between allied industry and Extension personnel in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Kansas. Jordan served as proceedings editor initially, then became co-chair of the bi-annual event and has been chair of subsequent conferences, the nomination stated. There was a total of 299 registrants at the 2016 High Plains Dairy Conference.

Jordan also was a key part of the Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium, established to provide a framework for coordination of rapidly expanding research, educational, Extension and service needs of the intensive dairy production and processing industries, the nomination stated.

She provided the vision that collaboration across state lines would optimize the use of limited resources to enhance the dairy industry’s competitiveness in the region by providing the highest quality educational opportunities backed by scientific discovery relevant to the industries’ needs. She continues to serve as vice chair of the consortium.

Although Jordan continues her emphasis on heat stress management and reproduction, her efforts have evolved to include issues such as antimicrobial resistance. In collaboration with veterinary faculty at Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Cornell, she is striving to develop an antimicrobial-resistance stewardship program for the dairy industry, the nomination said.

Over the years, Jordan has held numerous leadership roles and participated in many committees within the American Dairy Science Association. In addition, she has been secretary/treasurer of the Texas Animal Nutrition Council; served in several roles with the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists; was president of the American College of Animal Nutrition; helped found and was a director of the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council; and currently is vice chair of the Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium.  

She has received the DeLaval Dairy Extension Award from the American Dairy Science Association in 2007, the highest award for an Extension educator they bestow, and was named a Fellow in 2014. In addition, she was recognized at World Ag Expo in 2010 by being named the Outstanding Dairy Industry Educator/Researcher of the Year.

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