Animal Science doctoral student aims to improve the dairy industry

Ph.D. candidate Kirby Krogstad aspires to become a professor to help farmers and teach the next generation of students.

Kirby Krogstad standing in front of a red barn building.
Michigan State University Animal Science Ph.D. candidate Kirby Krogstad.

Kirby Krogstad’s vision and passion to improve the dairy industry led him to the Animal Science doctorate program at Michigan State University (MSU) where his research focuses on dairy nutrition and health. The Department of Animal Science prepares students for a variety of career opportunities through education on scientific principles of biology and animal agriculture developed from various animal models.

“I grew up on a dairy farm and loved the cows. As I got older and thought about what I wanted to do, I realized I wanted to be able to help farmers, like my dad. I love researching ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of dairy cattle by improving their health and welfare,” Krogstad said.

“The MSU Animal Science program is full of people who are trying to make the world better. They are doing it by researching how to improve animal health and welfare, improving our understanding of animal reproduction, improving animal nutrition and improving sustainability.”

Krogstad is a doctoral student expected to graduate in December 2023. Krogstad graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in dairy production from South Dakota University. He then earned a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in animal science with his thesis on the Effects of NDF digestibility on Lactating Jersey Cows: Observed and Modeled Performance.

Beyond research and education, Krogstad has excelled in leadership roles and community service, including various roles in different organizations as treasurer, fundraising chair, graduate student assembly representative, Food Energy Water (FEW) Graduate Research Scholar and baseball coach. He is involved with numerous professional organizations and has taken on numerous teachings and tutoring.

After graduation, he aspires to become a professor, teacher and mentor, and conduct research to continue to improve the dairy industry. He also cites the importance of service to the community and commitment to offer his insight on research to farm families. Ultimately, he desires to create a foundation and scholarship fund to help other students succeed in further education.

Krogstad is one of the 2022 CANR Alumni Association Scholarship recipients.


Name: Kirby Krogstad   

Hometown: Baltic, South Dakota

Degree working on: Dairy Cattle Health and Nutrition, Animal Science, Ph.D.

Expected graduation date: December 2023

Research focus: Dairy Cattle Health and Nutrition

What inspired your interest in your advanced degree area?
I grew up on a dairy farm and loved the cows. As I got older and thought about what I wanted to do, I realized I wanted to be able to help farmers, like my dad. I love researching ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of dairy cattle by improving their health and welfare. Consumers should have confidence that we are always searching for ways to make sure the dairy cows are healthy!

Why did you choose to study at MSU?
Michigan State University has top-rate faculty and that is why I wanted to be here. I really wanted to do research with my advisor, Dr. Bradford. He has a unique lab that researches very relevant and novel questions across a wide array of topics. We investigate fundamental things like animal feeding strategies, as well as doing more complicated research into dairy cow inflammation, metabolism and physiology.

What has been one of your best experiences within graduate school so far?
One of my best experiences was attending the Tri-State Nutrition Conference in Indiana. I got first place in the Ph.D. presentation competition where I presented the research we had conducted here at Michigan State.

What do you want others to know about this program?
The MSU Animal Science program is full of people who are trying to make the world better. They are doing it by researching how to improve animal health and welfare, improving our understanding of animal reproduction, improving animal nutrition and improving sustainability.

What are some of the best things about being an MSU student?
My favorite part of being an MSU student is the Spartan community. I love going places wearing MSU attire; I always hear at least one person shout “Go Green!”

Any thoughts or advice for current or new students?
Take the time in getting to know people. I have been fortunate to be part of some collaborative projects and those have been very rewarding. Having the chance to work with people from different backgrounds is the best way to learn and grow.

What are your future plans?
Currently, I hope to become a professor. I want to be able to teach, mentor and do research that will improve the dairy industry.

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