April 11, 2019 – Reynolds Alumni Ctr.

2008 Outstanding Staff: John Denbigh

John Denbigh

JOHN DENBIGH, Dairy Farm manager, understands the mission of a land grant university, reports the team of four co-workers and professors who nominated him for the staff recognition award.

"He has a strong desire to serve and to help others accomplish their goals whether it be in research, teaching, extension or service, the four said in the nomination.

Denbigh’s University client list is lengthy. Numerous faculty members from several departments and colleges use the dairy facilities and animals. "John routinely assigns cows and facilities, and assists in numerous projects and classes to meet the needs of the faculty at the dairy farm," the notation in the nomination form continued. "This is in addition to managing the needs and supervision of 200 lactating cows and another 240 head of young stock at the diary. John oversees five full-time employees and 8-10 students at any given time. The current sales from the dairy farm this year will exceed $800,000."

The Dairy Farm is one of the Division of Animal Sciences most used animal units. In many research trials, Denbigh coordinates the use of cows for the experiment. In a number of cases, he must work with principal investigators to ‘share’ cows for there to be enough for two experiments at one time. In one multiple use case, a link between a nutritional marker and fertility was established.

The herd is also extensively used for teaching by the faculty from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Denbigh is particularly helpful in selecting cows appropriate for the tasks demanded by these classes. He is also known to assist in the instruction of some classroom laboratories at the farm, and his knowledge and experience make a significant contribution to the classroom instruction.

"John loves teaching and goes to great lengths to assist with the undergraduate mission," it was said on the nomination form. "John serves a mentor to the numerous undergraduates who work on the farm. He does not consider them menial laborers, but works to facilitate their professional improvement." Producers come to the farm to seek Denbigh’s advice about current methods and new developments. He is highly respected by the state’s producers who come to him at breed meetings, and local and state dairy shows.

"John often goes to the dairy facilities in the evening when a new calf is expected or an animal is sick to be sure that the birth goes properly or the sick animal is given the needed medication," the nomination reads. "Lastly, John uses his judgment to provide students more responsibility in the farm operation, showing leadership in the main mission of CAFNR, teaching and student development.