Francis Fluharty joins the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the new head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science.
Fluharty is currently a research professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State University.
His career has been devoted to assisting food animal producers through research and educational programs aimed at improving animal health and growth. Fluharty has also worked to improve profitability, as food animal agriculture must be economically-sustainable for farm families.
His primary research interest is determining the main nutritional factors impacting animal health and growth. He has also studied the nutritional and immunological factors that affect fat deposition and meat characteristics in ruminants. This research is essential as many consumers now demand that production practices enhance the health and welfare of animals.
During his career, Fluharty has been the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on 46 grants totaling more than $7.3 million. His master’s degree was conducted with starch chemistry and digestibility, and his doctoral research focused on the nutritional management of stressed ruminants through optimizing the functioning of the microbial population in the rumen.
Fluharty is a co-inventor of two patents for genetic marker processes and DNA sequences to detect an animal’s potential for both marbling and tenderness. He also helped develop an all-natural branded beef program, Ohio Signature Beef, designed to improve profits for family farm owners who produce cattle without the use of hormone implants or antibiotics.
He has worked as a scientific advisor for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Chile and the Chilean Institute for Agriculture Development, as well as the Japanese Wagyu F1 Council and Japan Cattlemen’s Association.
(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)