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Felix Joins Penn State's Animal Science Faculty as Beef Extension Specialist

Posted: February 29, 2016

Pennsylvania native Tara Felix will work with the Commonwealth's beef industry and teach undergraduate courses.

Tara L. Felix has joined Penn State's Department of Animal Science as an Assistant Professor and Beef Extension Specialist, coming to Penn State from a position as assistant professor of beef cattle nutrition and management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A native of Venango County in northwestern Pennsylvania who graduated from Penn State with an Animal Bioscience major, Felix will have major responsibilities as an extension specialist. She received her M.S. at the University of Florida, studying trace minerals. She earned her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in ruminant nutrition, with a focus on the effects of feeding distillers grains on growth performance and ruminal metabolism of feedlot cattle.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "We are delighted that Tara has joined the Animal Science faculty and look forward to her leadership within the beef industry in Pennsylvania. Her expertise and very strong background in beef nutrition will be an outstanding addition to our Extension Beef Team."

Felix will also teach undergraduate classes in nutrition, beef production and feeds and feeding.

She said, "I developed a strong passion for the PA beef industry during my undergraduate days at Penn State and am thrilled for the opportunity to come back to my home state. I look forward to working with the regional agents on beef extension programs that are focused on the needs of Pennsylvania producers."

She has been traveling throughout Pennsylvania to meet producers on their home farms and speaking at Extension meetings about cow supplementation strategies and other timely topics.

Felix first visited Penn State to attend the Governor's School for Agriculture, an experience that helped her decide to change plans from being a biology major to an animal sciences major. "Growing up in a very small town, the Governor's School was the first time that I realized there were specialists, not just in agriculture, but in animal science and even disciplines within animal science. I went home and immediately told my dad that I would be attending Penn State," she recalls.

As an undergraduate at Penn State, she was a member of the Coaly Honor Society and Gamma Sigma Delta Honors Fraternity. She worked in Harold Harpster's nutrition lab during her four years as a student, leading her to pursue her further education in that area.

Felix serves on the Beef Cattle Committee at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

She has authored or co-authored 33 journal articles, and has been invited to lecture at conferences within the United States and Brazil. In 2012 she was recognized as The Ohio State Outstanding Student in the Department of Animal Sciences.

Felix's husband Jonathan is also a Penn State graduate, and she is happy to be back in State College with her family that includes two young daughters.