Martin Mangual - Dairy Spotlight

Dairy Extension Educator

I grew up working alongside my grandfather on the family farm in Puerto Rico. Long days of farm chores were not enough to derail my interest in animal agriculture. After high school, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, where I also took part in several research opportunities. Some of these projects took place at MSU, where I worked with researchers such as Dr. Lorraine Sordillo, Dr. Andres Contreras, and Dr. Vengai Mavangira, who aside from great knowledge in science provided guidance on the “Spartan Way”! This new love for Green and White led me to enter the Animal Science Master’s program working with Dr. Michael VandeHaar on dairy nutrition research focusing on the feed efficiency of lactating dairy cows. To stay close to a farm, I worked at the MSU Dairy as a milker and animal caretaker during my MS program. I earned the graduate student teaching award from the department, which solidified my interest in education. I wrapped up my MS program with presentations at the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference and the national ADSA conference, where I earned 1st place in both masters student competitions.

I started in Extension in 2017 where I currently cover the west side of the state and serve as the co-chair of the Extension dairy team. I believe that having optimal farm procedures, and how we train employees to follow them, is what ultimately determines the success of a dairy. For this reason, I focus heavily on developing people into successful employees through practical hands-on training programs. This includes milkers, feeders and mid-level managers. Training focuses on understanding the science behind best practices, detailed approaches to the process, and their importance within the dairy operation. Aside from training the protagonists, I also spend time evaluating farm procedures to determine recommendations to increase efficiencies. This primarily includes parlor performance evaluations and feed center evaluations. On the research front, I focus on practical on-farm projects that directly affect farms and provide valuable data and information to make decisions. When not helping farmers improve their operations, I focus on raising my own herd of three energetic boys alongside my wife in the west side of the state.

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