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Robert L. Stewart

Robert Stewart
Date Honored: 10/01/2001

2001 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension

Department: Animal and Dairy Science

Professor Robert L. Stewart, Extension animal scientist, has made significant contributions to the Georgia beef industry.

Since his appointment in 1983, he has supervised the Tifton Bull Evaluation Program, retained ownership of Georgia calves, supported the junior livestock program and developed educational programs for Extension agents and cattle producers.

Dr. Stewart, an Extension coordinator since August 2000, is committed to obtaining results through innovative programming. When he assumed direction of the Tifton Bull Evaluation Center in 1983, he enhanced its national reputation by incorporating new technology to help buyers make decisions. He developed the computer program BULL TEST86, and later BULLTEST90, which farm managers across the country quickly adopted and still use widely. Dr. Stewart has also improved bull evaluation by documenting consigners' genetics and developing new measurements for selection criteria.

Dr. Stewart has played a key role in increasing the marketability of Georgia-bred calves through educational programming. He earned national recognition for helping reverse the reputation that Georgia calves were inferior in health and quality.

In 1991, Dr. Stewart designed the Georgia Beef Challenge as the first comprehensive steer feed-out program in the southeastern United States. This effort required coordinating input from several independent sources: the Georgia and National Cattlemen's associations, USDA Market News Service and Tri County Steer Carcass Futurity in Iowa. The Georgia Beef Challenge has become the largest such program in the eastern United States and served as a model for seven other states. Market figures showed that the increased income to Georgia cattlemen was $10.3 million in 1994 alone.

Most recently, Dr. Stewart formed the UGA Heifer Team, which has designed the Heifer Evaluation and Reproductive Development Program under his leadership. In its first year, the program greatly increased conception rates and sale premiums.

Through excellent 4-H livestock programs, Dr. Stewart has demonstrated ongoing commitment to youth development. In addition to participating in 222 youth events as instructor, coordinator, steering committee member or judge, he has been superintendent of the State Junior Heifer Show in Georgia since 1991. Although the heifer program is declining in many other states, it is healthy and growing in Georgia.

Dr. Stewart publishes the "Georgia Junior National Premium Catalog" as a high-quality professional magazine that generates income.

He also is responsible for developing a scholarship program that has so far awarded 27 scholarships in the amount of $500 to twelfth-grade showmanship winners.

In addition to major programs, Dr. Stewart's résumé contains an extraordinary number of educational meetings at the county, state and national level. He is a prolific writer of newsletter and popular press articles.

His comprehensive educational program has resulted in Dr. Stewart receiving the 1996 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, the 1997 Gamma Sigma Delta Extension Award of Merit and the 2000 Outstanding Senior Scientist Award in Extension at the Tifton campus. He has received line item funding from the Georgia legislature to support the bull evaluation center. His work has been highlighted in national magazines and by the National Cattlemen's Association. He also was selected to serve on the Performance Committee of the international Beef Improvement Federation.

His colleagues and collaborators describe Dr. Stewart as an extremely accomplished leader in Georgia's beef industry and in the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service adult and youth programs. They articulate extraordinary respect for his commitment and creative, original contributions to his field.