The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces that Dr. Floyd McKeith has been named the 2019 AMSA R.C. Pollock Award winner. The R.C. Pollock Award is presented annually in honor of the first general manager of the National Live Stock and Meat Board. This award is sponsored by the AMSA Development Council R.C. Pollock, Robert Bray, and Vern Cahill Mentor Recognition Funds. Dr. McKeith will be honored at an awards banquet on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 during the AMSA 72nd Reciprocal Meat Conference in Loveland, Colorado.
Dr. McKeith joined the Animal Sciences faculty at the University of Illinois in October 1981, with a split appointment of 25% teaching, 25% research, and 50% extension. Dr. McKeith is one of the world’s most influential scientists in the field of meat science. He grew up in Reed Point, Montana and in 1977 received his undergraduate degree from Washington State University. He earned a master’s degree (1979) and PhD (1982) in animal sciences from Texas A&M University and joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1981 before defending his doctorate.
Dr. McKeith has contributed immeasurably to the Illinois and U.S. meat processing industries through his dynamic extension meat science programs. His extension program is centered on three major areas: educational programs designed specifically for the small to medium size Illinois meat processor; producer and consumer education; and an applied research program that addresses new product development, meat quality and sensory attributes, and improvement in carcass composition. He served as the technical advisor the Illinois association of meat processors for many years where he aided in plant sanitation, new product development, and creating and delivering HACCP educational programs to Illinois meat processors.
Although an effective classroom instructor and an invaluable member of Illinois extension, Dr. McKeith is likely best known for his research contributions. Dr. McKeith developed a reputation as an instrumental resource to the animal pharmaceutical industry in evaluating and developing metabolic modifiers (e.g. ractopamine). Specifically, Dr. McKeith is internationally known for his expertise in pork meat and fat quality. His reputation as a sound, thorough applied researcher is well documented as he has published over 260 peer reviewed journal articles, 230 scientific abstracts, 50 conference proceedings, and five book chapters. Since 1990, he has presented 63 invited talks at conferences, workshops, and technical schools in 18 states and 6 foreign countries. He has mentored scores of graduate students and raised several million dollars in extramural research funds from organizations like National Beef Cattleman’s Association, National Pork Producers, National Pork Board, and many industry sponsors. Dr. McKeith considers his greatest accomplishment to be the success of his graduate students he has advised.
In addition to all of this, Dr. McKeith is a very active member of the American Meat Science Association. He was intimately involved in the 1986 and 2006 RMC meetings hosted by the University of Illinois. Dr. McKeith served on numerous AMSA committees and has been an invited speaker at several previous RMCs. He served on the board of directors from 1990 through 1992, received the distinguished extension-industry award in 2000, the distinguished research award in 2004, and the signal service award in 2008.