June 6, 2007 | By: Aimee Nielson
LEXINGTON, KY.

For decades, Gary Cromwell has loaned his swine nutrition expertise to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Recently Cromwell received a national award for his efforts in teaching and research. 

The National Hog Farmer magazine named Cromwell as the 2007 Master Swine Nutritionist, a prestigious award that recognizes the nation’s best in the swine industry. 

Cromwell has seen a lot of change in the swine industry during his tenure at UK. Hailing from Salina, Kan., he made his way to Kentucky in 1967 after accepting an assistant professorship. Back then, Cromwell thought he would stay a few years; get his feet wet and then head back to Kansas. Turns out, he liked the Bluegrass enough to stay – 40 years this month. 

Currently Cromwell is the leader of UK’s Swine Research Group. He’s active in teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in swine nutrition and management, and he also serves as the coordinator for the UK Feed Processing Center. 

Cromwell’s research emphasis is in mineral bioavailability and requirements, amino acid requirements, evaluation of feed ingredients, modifying diets to make manure more environmentally friendly and efficacy and safety of feed additives. He’s also been a big defender of the benefits of antibiotics for pigs. 

“Forty years ago when I started, antibiotics were under pressure, and many thought that we were going to lose antibiotics. Well, that didn't happen. But there probably is more pressure today than there ever has been,” he said. “But the facts are still there that antibiotic resistance in people hasn't really changed that much. A lot of the problems that we see in humans some try to tie to antibiotic use in animals, but it hasn't been documented.”

The National Hog Farmer award is not the first time Cromwell has been in the national spotlight for his work. He was the chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Animal Nutrition from 1979 to 2002; the chair of an NRC subcommittee that prepared the 10th edition of Nutrient Requirements of Swine, last published in 1998; the chair of the Federation of Animal Science Society Food Safety, Animal Health and Animal Drugs Committee and its forerunner, the American Society of Animal Science Regulatory Agencies Committee. Cromwell also served as a non-ruminant section editor for the Journal of Animal Science and as the president of the American Society of Animal Science in 1989-1990. 

Cromwell said he won’t be ready to retire for a few years yet and sees many opportunities and challenges still before him. 

“We wean nearly twice as many pigs as we did years ago, and pigs are weaned at much younger ages,” he said. “Pigs now reach 40 pounds in six weeks. It used to be if you had an 8-9-week-old pig weigh 40 pounds, you were doing pretty good. And market weights have escalated from 180 to 220 pounds to an average of about 270 pounds. Pigs at that weight can still be quite lean.”

Still, Cromwell confessed that he holds teaching very dear in his accomplishment-filled career. He said graduate students are coming to him now with more technical experience, but fewer agricultural roots and that is a new challenge for him as an instructor. Many students Cromwell has advised through the years are now retired, but he plans to keep teaching for a few more years. 

Other awards Cromwell has received through the years are: American Society of Animal Science Morrison Award; ASAS American Feed Industry Association Nutrition Award; ASAS Animal Industry Service Award; ASAS Fellow; UK College of Agriculture Outstanding Faculty Award for graduate student training and Purdue University Animal Sciences Department distinguished alumnus for lifetime achievement.

Contact: 

Gary Cromwell, 859-257-7534