The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces that Dr. Michael Dikeman is the 2021 AMSA R.C. Pollock Award honoree. The R. C. Pollock Award is presented in honor of the first general manager of the National Live Stock and Meat Board. Pollock, a leader, dedicated to the advancement of meat science, was the moving force in establishing the Reciprocal Meat Conference. The award honors a dedicated AMSA member whose work through teaching, extension, research, or service represents an extraordinary and lasting contribution to the meat industry. The AMSA Development Council sponsors this award. Dikeman is being honored at the 74th AMSA Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation on August 17, 2021, in Reno, Nevada, hosted by the University of Nevada – Reno.
Dikeman says, “I never thought competing in intercollegiate meat judging contests would lead to a 42-year career, with teaching/mentorship as my first love and interest. However, I also conducted research that is cited weekly by other researchers and used by industry. I also held leadership positions in professional organizations. I believe the word ‘balanced’ describes my career and contributions.”
Dr. Dikeman has had a long and illustrious career in meat science at Kansas State University in teaching, coaching meat judging teams, and conducting research that has had a long-lasting impact on students’ subsequent careers and the livestock and meat industries. Among the ways one can serve and support AMSA, there are few in which he hasn’t enthusiastically participated. He has served the association on untold committees as RMC Chairman, AMSA President, and Chair of the host committee for RMC twice. He has been a member and Chair of official committees for intercollegiate meat judging contests and superintendent of state FFA and 4-H judging contests. He has received the 1987 AMSA Distinguished Teaching Award, 1994 Signal Service Award, 2006 Distinguished Research Award, and 2014 Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award. Dr. Dikeman has attended 53 RMCs and has been a frequently invited speaker.
“I would describe Dr. Dikeman as a Master Teacher and real gentleman. He was and still is the ultimate professional and a true friend of students,” said Dr. Clint Rusk, Oklahoma State University.
He served as President of FASFAS (forerunner of FASS); on the Executive Board of American Society of Animal Science; on Program Planning for the Joint Meeting (four societies) in Indianapolis; and on the Executive Board for the American Simmental Association. Currently, he is Co-Editor of the 3rd Ed. of Meat Science Encyclopedia.
In addition, Dr. Dikeman has trained numerous students who have made their own significant contributions to the meat and livestock industries and AMSA. To highlight a few of his high-level, long-lasting impacts; his RMC/ICoMST presentations/papers on the effects of metabolic modifiers on carcass composition and meat quality have had an enormous impact. He was very influential in meat science research, especially meat cookery and tenderness assessment. In addition, he has focused on genetic contributions to carcass composition and meat quality traits (early MARC GPE) and the NCBA carcass merit project that resulted in the genetic contribution to tenderness, which was a considerable advancement. He was a significant contributor to three revisions of the AMSA meat sensory and cookery guidelines. His students have gone on to be very impactful in most areas of meat science (i.e., not just the areas he trained them in). The list of scientists whose tree has become so diverse but still impactful is impressive.
When you worked for Dr. Dikeman, you became part of his family. A true servant leader, no job was below him. He allowed us to develop into our own scientists, not just carbon copies of himself. We were free to pursue our interests and research goals. He just guided us down our paths. That’s likely why his students have such a wide variety of positions in academia, industry, government, and trade organizations. I’m very proud to say that I’m part of the Dikeman ‘family.’ Dr. Janeal Yancey, University of Arkansas.