Writer: Maggie Tucker
Unlike many people involved in agriculture today, Chad Paulk did not grow up in the agricultural industry. It was during his sophomore year at the University of Georgia that he discovered his passion for animal science.
The summer before his senior year, he assisted swine nutrition graduate students with a research project. The project’s objective was to determine the optimal amount of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to include in nursery pig diets. During that summer corn prices hit record highs, increasing diet costs. Conducting research to help swine producers reduce diet costs became very intriguing. After learning how to conduct research to help swine producers and the career opportunities available in the swine industry, Paulk developed a passion for pigs and found his career path.
This summer marks Paulk’s first year as a busy assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science. He recently returned from a trip to China with four faculty members from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as part of the U.S. – China Scientific Cooperation One Health Exchange Program. The objective of the collaborative effort is to provide an opportunity for leading researchers from both countries to establish new and strengthen existing collaborations between Texas A&M and institutions in China, which will lead to the development of future mutually beneficial projects in the fields of veterinary epidemiology and swine production and health.
Paulk teaches ANSC 412, Swine Production and Management, and is working to convert ANSC 320, Animal Nutrition for non-majors, into an online course. He also is in the process of developing a swine nutrition and quantitative analysis in food production systems course.
What research projects are you working on?
- Evaluating the effects of supplemental levels of micro minerals in swine diets. Specific minerals include copper, zinc and chromium.
- Collaborating with Dr. Jason Gill and Dr. Todd Calloway on the use of bacteriophages to improve swine health.
- Determining nutrient digestibility coefficients for new ingredients fed to swine.
- Investigating dietary effects on pork quality.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most and why?
The U.S. and global swine industries provide many rewarding career paths of which a majority of students are not aware. I enjoy being able to expose students to these opportunities and help them prepare for their future. Every student is different and each has different talents that can be used to help sustain the future of animal agriculture and help feed the growing population. It is a great feeling to help students find a career path that fits them best and help them be prepared to succeed.
My second motivational factor is developing scientific data that is used by swine producers to help make decisions. Texas A&M has provided me with the resources and support to conduct this research to help the swine industry. Spending time at the farm with students and pigs to develop answers for swine producers and for educational purposes is something I look forward to everyday.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.