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Kvamme awarded student fellowship

Keenan Kvamme is pursuing a master's degree in animal and range sciences.

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BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Department of Animal Range Sciences in the College of Agriculture at Montana State University has announced the recipient of its inaugural Dr. Janice Bowman Graduate Student Fellowship. Keenan Kvamme, an MSU graduate student in animal sciences from Carrington, North Dakota, has been awarded the fellowship of $5,000 to use toward graduate school expenses.

“This is super special and a really big honor, especially since this is the first year of the award and my personal connection to Jan,” said Kvamme, who also received his bachelor's degree in animal sciences and livestock management from MSU. “She was my adviser for my first three years as an undergraduate. She was always nice and super supportive of me (getting my master's).”

During his undergraduate years, Kvamme was also a member of MSU’s rodeo team.

Keenan Kvamme 22n.jpg
Keenan Kvamme
Contributed / Montana State University

Kvamme is presently pursuing his Master of Science in animal and range sciences.

Kvamme’s master’s project looks at multiple administrations of bovine appeasing substance, or BAS, and measures its performance, health and psychological effects on cattle. BAS is a synthetic analog to the bovine appeasing pheromone produced in a cow’s mammary gland. It has a calming effect and lowers stress levels. According to Kvamme, the three most stressful times for feeder calves are weaning, road transportation and feedlot receiving.

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To measure if the BAS influenced calf stress levels, Kvamme administered the BAS treatment to calves every 14 days during a 42-day preconditioning trial. Then the calves were split into control and non-control groups, shipped on a semi-truck from MSU’s Red Bluff Research Ranch on a 700-mile roundtrip ending at the Bozeman Agricultural Research and Teaching Farm to elicit the stress of long-haul travel. Then cattle were mixed in different pens with different cattle to add more stress. Kvamme hopes the results will show BAS prevents cattle from losing weight during the haul and reception at feedlots.

According to his nomination letter, Rodrigo Marques, assistant professor and Kvamme’s adviser, said Kvamme has exceptional experience in beef cattle production and a practical research approach, which he finds extremely rare among contemporary graduate students in this discipline. He said Kvamme also contributed significantly to all academic branches of MSU – research, extension and teaching – by helping students as a teaching assistant or with the farm crew several days a week.

“Keenan is a true example of research and academic excellence and will provide (in addition to what he is currently providing) an enormous contribution to our discipline,” Marques wrote.

Kvamme grew up at Carrington and has first-hand experience and interest with the livestock industry. He hopes to pursue a career in livestock nutrition consulting and immediately after graduation will begin a job in mineral nutrition consulting in Great Falls, Montana.

The fellowship was made possible by the contributions of Betty Greenwood Porter, on behalf of Janice “Jan” Porter Bowman, who served as a faculty member in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences from 1992 to 2019. Her research and academic interests included cattle nutrition, supplementation, forage diets, barley varieties for beef cattle and equine nutrition. The fellowship was established to commemorate Bowman’s career at MSU by supporting graduate students who display an exemplary work ethic and record of, or high potential for, academic and research achievements.

“It’s a great pleasure to be able to recognize students of Keenan’s caliber and celebrate Jan and the many contributions she made to the department and cattle industry through this annual award," said Carl Yeoman, head of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. "The department is grateful for the support of folks like Betty."

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