UNL hires Panhandle Research & Extension Director

Dr. Jack Whittier

LINCOLN, Ne. – Dr. Jack Whittier, Professor and Extension Beef Specialist at Colorado State University, has been appointed Research and Extension Director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center and the Panhandle Extension District.

The appointment was announced by Dr. Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of UNL Extension.

Dr. Whittier will assume the position June 1, 2014. He will be responsible for overseeing operations at the Panhandle Center, which has about 14 faculty members in UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources who conduct research and extension activities related to agriculture, business development and natural resources.

The Panhandle Research and Extension Center is at Scottsbluff. Research facilities include the Scottsbluff Ag Lab, the Mitchell Ag Lab, the High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney and Sioux County Experimental Range.

Dr. Whittier also will lead the 16-county Panhandle Extension District, where 20 Extension educators and six 4-H assistants and support staff provide Extension programming to western and north-central Nebraska from 12 county-based Extension Offices.

Dr. Whittier will be the 10th director of the Panhandle Center in its 114 years of existence. He will replace Dr. Linda Boeckner, who accepted a new assignment in 2013 with UNL Extension and the College of Education and Human Sciences in Lincoln, following a five-year stint as director. Since then, Dr. Gary Hergert, Extension Nutrient Management and Soil Quality Specialist, has served as Interim Director and Jim Schild, Extension Educator in Scotts Bluff County, has served as Interim Associate Director.

The appointment follows an intensive, nationwide search.

"We are very pleased to bring a seasoned research and extension professional to the Panhandle," Dr. Hibberd said in announcing the appointment. "In his interview, Dr. Whittier demonstrated the vision, the ability to mobilize great programs and great people, and the connection with stakeholders that positions the Panhandle Research and Extension Center to catalyze agriculture, families, nutrition, youth and community initiatives in western Nebraska."

As Extension Beef Specialist at CSU's Animal Science Department, Dr. Whittier has been responsible for Extension, teaching, research and service activities in the areas of beef cattle nutrition and reproductive management. He has been at Colorado State since 1995, and before that held faculty and graduate research positions at the University of Missouri, University of Nebraska and Utah State University.

He received a Ph.D. in animal science in 1985 from UNL with emphasis in ruminant nutrition; and master's and bachelor's degrees in animal science from Utah State, in 1981 and 1979, respectively.

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