AMARILLO – Dr. Juan Piñeiro, veterinarian, joined the faculty at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo on July 1 as a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service dairy specialist.
Coming to Amarillo is a return to the Panhandle for Piñeiro, who completed an internship four years ago at the Coldwater Dairy in Sherman County.
Piñeiro earned his doctorate and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University, Columbus, and his veterinary medic license from the University of La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has completed numerous externships and internships with dairies in Argentina.
In addition to hands-on experience in dairies, he has mentored undergraduate students on the veterinary early commitment program at Ohio State and spent time teaching dairy personnel training, best calving management practices and transition cow management with emphasis on reproductive performance in lactating dairy cows.
Piñeiro said his new position in the Texas Panhandle offers a familiar climate to work in, as it is very similar to his home in Argentina, but it also provides him an opportunity to stay connected with academia through AgriLife Extension and the dissemination of research findings to dairy operators.
“I want to be in contact with the producers and know their needs and be able to translate research for them that will ultimately help them increase their profits,” he said. “It also allows me to do some applied research with them to address any issues that we may not have the answers to yet.”
The dairy industry is growing in the High Plains, Piñeiro said, from about 20,000 cows in 2001 to more than 300,000 cows today, which offers a lot of opportunity not only for the industry, but also for himself professionally.
Some of the key issues the dairy industry continues to address are workforce retention, water and environment, he said.
“I hope to help reduce employee turnover by providing trainings and additional resources that will improve work environments and help employees better understand their jobs, why they are required to follow certain protocols, and ultimately to feel more confident in the work they do,” Piñeiro said.
“At the same time, we can also work on improving the training process for new employees to make sure they understand what is expected of them and they can get comfortable in the job environment right away,” he said.
Included in these trainings will be cattle handling and animal welfare, areas Piñeiro said AgriLife Extension can play an important role by educating employees and herd managers on best management practices. His doctoral work focused on prevention of transition diseases, which includes cow comfort and how that impacts health and reproductive performance.
He said he expects to work with other AgriLife Extension specialists in the areas of water and environment to help ensure health, performance and survivability of cows are balanced with protecting natural resources.
Piñeiro is a member of the American Dairy Science Association, Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council and the Dairy Cattle Welfare Council.