Ph.D., Assistantship in Modeling Extensive Rangeland Systems & Evaluating Precision Livestock Technologies —Rapid City, South Dakota

South Dakota State University
Rapid City
Job Category
Graduate Assistantships
Competitive salary, plus tuition
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
We are seeking an individual to pursue a Ph.D. in Animal Science modeling extensive rangeland grazing systems and evaluating precision livestock technologies. Approximately 40% of the land use within the Northern Great Plains is dedicated to livestock production, with much of the 89.9 million head of cattle and calves in the U.S. concentrated in this area. However, the incorporation of modeling and precision technologies on extensive rangeland production systems remains relatively absent. Therefore, developing a mathematical model capable of simulating different grazing strategies (e.g., continuous, rotational, adaptive multi-paddock) on extensive rangeland systems is essential to inform management decisions and forecast potential changes. In collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture-ARS and Cornell University, the student will participate in data sampling/gathering and refinement, testing precision grazing technologies, mathematical modeling, and participatory modeling with industry stakeholders. The student will learn the principles of rangeland ecology, grazing management, livestock nutrition, systems thinking, and system dynamics to develop dynamic models to evaluate different livestock grazing scenarios for ruminant systems (e.g., beef) that can inform producer management decisions regarding key performance metrics at a systems level.
Competitive candidates will be highly motivated and possess a B.S. or M.Sc. in Animal Science, Soil Science, Agronomy, Natural Resources, Computational Biology, or related field. Experience with the Program R or Python programming languages is preferred but not required. Experience with dynamic modeling software is highly preferred (e.g., Vensim, Stella, Powersim) but not required. Experience in grazing systems is highly preferred to demonstrate knowledge of forage growth patterns, nutrient quality, and quantity and livestock nutrient demand. Qualified candidates will also demonstrate experience or interest in applying qualitative and quantitative methods (i.e., modeling) to evaluate extensive livestock systems. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups in Animal Science. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. To apply: Send a single PDF that includes a brief cover letter outlining experience and research interests, curriculum vitae, unofficial university transcripts (a list of relevant coursework and grades is acceptable), GRE and TOFEL scores (if applicable), and contact information for three references to Dr. Hector Menendez at Applications will be accepted until May 31, 2021.
Contact Person
Hector M Menendez
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