Dr. Ominski leads the sustainable forage-beef cattle production systems research program at the University of Manitoba and the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment where she is engaged in research and outreach aimed at increasing the sustainability of cattle production.
Dr. Kim Ominski studied at the University of Manitoba and received her PhD in 1994. She joined the Department of Animal Science in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Science at the University of Manitoba as Assistant Professor in Beef Production Systems in 1999, became an Associate Professor in 2006 and a full Professor in 2012.
She kindly agreed to answer some questions for us.
Q: Did mentors play a part in your career choices?
A: Mentors played an extremely important role during my career. When I joined the University of Manitoba, I identified mentors in each of the three areas in which I was working - teaching, research and outreach. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked with these very gifted individuals and am grateful for their willingness to share their knowledge and experience.
Q: What advice would you give a young person considering a professional career in agriculture, especially animal science?
A: I once heard a great quote from Sheryl Sandberg regarding employment. "Try until you find something that stirs your passion, a job that matters to you and matters to others. It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It's also a very clear path to happiness." Your attitude about your career is critical...embrace all that you do with passion and enthusiasm.
Since 2001, Dr. Ominski has developed a multidisciplinary, systems-based research program examining the productivity and environmental sustainability of forage-based beef cattle production systems. These projects have brought together expertise from several university departments to examine issues of greenhouse gas production, as well nutrient and pathogen cycling, in both preserved forage and pasture production systems. Involvement of provincial and federal commodity groups and government agencies have ensured best management practices developed as a consequence of this research and are effectively disseminated.
Dr. Ominski's research is funded by livestock industry groups such as the Manitoba Beef Producers, the Canadian Cattleman Association, the Beef Cattle Research Council, and the Manitoba Livestock Manure Initiative. Prior to joining the University of Manitoba, Kim worked as a regional livestock specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. She is a founding member of the Manitoba Grazing School Organizing Committee since its inception in 1997.
Q: What advice can you give new professionals about the importance of research and publishing?
A: Publishing is essential...not only for the sake of academic knowledge but it also serves as the basis for sound policy and program development for our government and industry partners. For junior scientists, I suggest choosing a mentor - someone who is an excellent critical thinker, has a good publication record and is willing to share their knowledge.
Kim has received a number of professional awards. In 2001, she received the Innovation Team Award for her systems approach to research and problem solving. She was recognized with the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Teacher of the Year Award in 2006, the University of Manitoba Merit Award in 2004, the Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) in 2004, the Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service of the Canadian Society of Animal Science in 2007 and a University of Manitoba Outreach Award in 2009. Click here to see a list of her recent publications.
Dinah Ceplis, AIC GEM Working Group
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