The Beef Improvement Federation recently presented Dr. Tim Holt, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University, with the Pioneer Award during the group’s annual meeting and symposium.
The award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle, honoring those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle.
One of the challenges for beef producers in the western United States is environmental adaptability, whether it be for heat, scarcity of forage or other challenges. For those raising cattle above 5,000 feet, one of the greatest challenges is resistance to High Mountain Disease, commonly called brisket disease.
Holt played a pivotal role in the development and delivery of a veterinary test that predicts susceptibility to pulmonary hypertension, the underlying cause of High Mountain Disease. He graduated from CSU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in 1988, and performed his first pulmonary arterial pressure test in early 1980.
He has since collected more than 350,000 of these observations, which are used to identify cattle that are resistant to the effects of hypoxia, a deficiency in the amount of oxygen at the tissue level.
Holt’s data has served as the basis for the development of metrics related to pulmonary arterial pressure, including the fastest way to make genetic improvements in beef cattle and to identify markers reducing susceptibility to High Mountain Disease.
The renowned veterinarian travels more than 75,000 miles a year, offering measurement services from New Mexico to Montana, and serving as the key ranch expert for breeders and breeding programs across the region. Holt provides advice, expertise and approaches to reducing brisket disease and making genetic progress in high-elevation herds.
He also organizes a biennial training on pulmonary arterial pressure for post-graduate veterinarians. These continuing education opportunities serve as the mechanism to train field veterinarians and to keep them informed of the latest research results in this area.
Holt is currently contributing to the development of pulmonary arterial pressure measurement guidelines for the Beef Improvement Federation, and has developed a heart-scoring system to determine levels of pulmonary hypertension and heart tissue remodeling at harvest.
“Dr. Holt’s efforts have taken him not only all over the western U.S., but to Ethiopia, Peru, and India,” said Mark Enns, a board member with the Beef Improvement Federation and a CSU professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. “His energy, enthusiasm and passion for helping high-altitude cattle producers is infectious, as anyone who has worked with him will attest. In his role as associate professor in clinical sciences, he is training the next generation of veterinarians in appropriate measurement technique of pulmonary arterial pressure and generating enthusiasm for livestock production in the Rocky Mountains.”
More than 600 beef producers, members of academia and industry representatives attended the organization’s 50th annual convention. The federation’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.
News release courtesy of the Beef Improvement Federation