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Ruegg, O'Rourke honored by UW-Madison

Both women received 2016 CALS awards

June 2, 2016

2 Min Read

Pamela Ruegg, University of Wisconsin-Extension milk quality and dairy animal health specialist at UW-Madison and Bernadette O’Rourke, UW-Extension youth livestock specialist at UW-Madison received recognition for their work through UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Ruegg received the 2016 CALS Excellence in International Activities Award that recognizes an individual engaged in international research, instruction, outreach, program development or service. For the past 18 years, Ruegg has presented at conferences, short courses, research collaborations and on-farm consulting activities in places such as Brazil, Ireland, Italy and Kosovo.


Recently, Ruegg has provided leadership for the Nestle Dairy Farming Institute, a public-private partnership in northeastern China. She is the primary investigator on this $1.7 million training and curriculum development project aimed at lifting China’s emerging dairy industry, which has been plagued with environmental, food safety and animal welfare concerns over the past decade.

One nominator noted, “Her extensive, high-impact, and far-reaching efforts in research, instruction, outreach, program development and service internationally make Dr. Ruegg uniquely qualified for this recognition.”

O’Rourke received the 2016 CALS Academic Staff Award for Excellence in Leadership. Her leadership in program creation and expansion is evident in the Wisconsin Youth Livestock Program which has grown in terms of value and scale. She leads activities connected to the education and personal development of young people engaged in the animal sector of the state. In this role, O'Rourke manages youth, leaders and parents in the beef, sheep, swine and meat goat projects across Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

A participant in the program noted, “I always admired Bernie’s passion and dedication for what she does.” Another participant said, “Bernie’s caring personality allows her to be an influence in many of Wisconsin’s livestock youth’s lives.”

It was noted that O'Rourke is the “go to” person for any educational activity and materials that target Wisconsin youth engaged in meat animal projects. More than 9,000 youth participated in the 4-H projects she oversaw in 2015. Although a similar count is not available for FFA project members, a large number of them have contact with Bernie’s program and materials. Bernie has also recruited nearly $100,000 of support for her programs from the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, Wisconsin Pork Association, Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction and Wisconsin Ag Growth Foundation.

Source: UW Extension

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