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SDSU Extension welcomes new bison specialist

April 19, 2023
Posted in Bison

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension is excited to announce a new bison specialist. 

Jeff Martin has been named the SDSU Extension Bison Specialist and the Assistant Professor of Bison Biology and Management in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Martin’s role is 70 percent research and 30 percent Extension, and he will continue to be based at West River Research and Extension center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“We are excited to have Dr. Martin begin in his new role at SDSU. His bison expertise and experiences bring a new focus to a species that is important to South Dakota,” said Kristi Cammack, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Assistant Dean of West River Operations. “As the Director for SDSU’s Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, I look forward to the positive impacts that Dr. Martin’s research and Extension programs will have for bison producers, consumers and enthusiasts.”

Martin has been with SDSU since October 2020, when he started as a postdoctoral research associate and helped create the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies. He joined the faculty of the SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources capstone in January. 

As part of his new SDSU Extension appointment, Martin’s research will focus on gaining a better understanding of the biology and physiology of bison and how they are responding to climate change – especially warming temperatures and drought. 

Martin is a member of an SDSU research team that was recently awarded an $80 million United States Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative grant. The team’s long-term goal of the five-year pilot project, titled “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: Developing Climate-Smart Beef and Bison Commodities,” is to create market opportunities for live beef and bison commodities that are produced using climate-smart practices.

“By better understanding how bison naturally adapt to climate change, we can adjust our management practices to help bison with their adaptation,” Martin said.

Much of Martin’s research will also focus on the greenhouse gas emissions of bison across the Great Plains, and how it is affected by changes to their diet and environment.

Martin received his bachelor’s degree in geology, followed by his master’s in geosciences with an emphasis in vertebrate paleontology, both from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. He then earned his PhD in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. 

A second-generation bison rancher, Martin has personally witnessed how the bison industry has worked together to become more educated on climate change and other pressing issues. 

“I'm excited to be able to bring in the extensive resources of Extension to help train, problem solve, and educate the current and next generation of bison managers,” Martin said.

For more information, contact Jeff Martin, SDSU Extension Bison Specialist.