Dr. Kim Ominski is being honoured for her role in furthering the environmental and economic sustainability of forage-based beef cattle production systems in Canada. Ominski received the Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference this week at Calgary, Alta.
A researcher, professor, and acting department head at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Animal Science, Ominski earned her PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry in 1994. Ruminant nutrition is the core of her research program, but she has expanded this base to examine implications for the environment, human health, and the broader sustainability of the Canadian beef industry.
“There are few areas of beef production research in which Dr. Ominski has not made an impact: nutrition, greenhouse gas emissions, manure management, feed efficiency, microbiology, farm husbandry practices and transport,” says Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein, senior research scientist in beef cattle welfare at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge. “A clear strength she possesses is the ability to communicate about timely topics in animal agriculture such as greenhouse gas emissions and alternative feed sources related to beef or ruminant production in Canada.”
One of Ominski’s research contributions includes co-leading an environmental footprint assessment of the Canadian beef industry. It demonstrated significant reductions in the industry’s carbon footprint over the past three decades, as well as improved water use efficiency and reduced ammonia emissions per kilogram of beef produced. This work provided science-based evidence of ongoing improvements in the environmental footprint of Canadian beef production which has been used by industry and government in program and policy development. The research results are changing the way beef production in Canada is spoken about; for example, the results were shared in advertisements by McDonald’s Canada.
Knowledge dissemination and technology transfer are essential components of Ominski’s research and training programs. Every research project she leads includes a knowledge transfer plan because the practical relevance of the research to producers is a priority for her.
Along with her many research accomplishments, Ominski has mentored 35 MSc and PhD students, six research associates and post doctorals, and numerous undergraduate students, who are now helping advance the beef cattle industry in their careers. She has served as a mentor in the Canadian Cattle Young Leaders program, actively contributes to the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Advisory Committee and has served on multiple other committees in the past.