John Matsushima, a retired Colorado State University professor and pioneer in beef cattle nutrition, was honored during the National Western Stock Show in Denver earlier this year as the 2013 Citizen of the West.
During his 30-year career as professor and researcher in the Department of Animal Sciences, he became world renowned as an expert in beef cattle feeding for greater efficiency, profitability and carcass quality. His innovations, beginning in the '60s, helped modernize and expand U.S. beef production with scientific underpinnings, data-based decision making and global reach.
"Johnny represents the best of the world of academia," says Pat Grant, National Western long-range planning chairman. "He has an inquiring mind that hungers for knowledge, and I just can't say enough about his impact on students. He also represents the best of the world of agriculture. What he has accomplished with people and leaders over the decades is enormous.
"In the world of beef, I do not know anyone who has had more influence than Johnny Matsushima."
Citizen of the West honorees, selected by a committee of community leaders, embody the spirit and determination of the western pioneer and are committed to perpetuating the West's agricultural heritage and ideals, explains Grant.
The Citizen of the West honor roll is a regional Who's Who of political, business, educational, philanthropic and agricultural leaders, he says.
Among Matsushima's achievements outlined at the presentation were:
•Educated 10,000 animal science students.
•Pioneered the process of using steam and mechanical pressure to macerate corn kernels into corn flakes for beet cattle rations, improving feed efficiency by about 10% and reducing the amount of grain needed in rations.
•Working with Japanese officials to open that nation and other Asian markets to U.S. beef sales.
"I don't think Colorado would be a top-five cattle state if it weren't for Johnny's work," says Daryl Tatum, CSU animal scientist. "Johnny did as much as anyone in teaching and research to elevate the commercial cattle feeding industry in Colorado and elsewhere.
"He was a game-changer."