Academic affiliation: Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University
- RESEARCH PROGRAM
- LIVESTOCK NUTRITION RESEARCH PROGRAM
- WOOD TO FEED PROGRAM
- RESEARCH ACCOMPLISHMENTS & IMPACTS
- RESEARCH, TEACHING & SERVICE
Dr. Whitney is an Associate Professor, Ruminant Nutritionist, and project leader for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Nutrition Laboratory, San Angelo. He also leads the AgriLife Wood to Feed Program and is a faculty member in the Texas A&M Animal Science Department (College Station). Dr. Whitney also serves as adjunct faculty at multiple universities. He was Valedictorian of his high school class and received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Southwest Texas State University (San Marcos), a Master’s degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University (College Station), and a Ph.D. in Animal Science (Beef Cattle Nutrition) from the University of Arizona (Tucson). After receiving his Master’s degree, he taught Animal Science classes at Palo Alto College (San Antonio) and completed postdoctoral research at Montana State University (Bozeman) prior to his current appointment with AgriLife.
He is happily married to his wife, Valarie, and they have two incredible boys, Lane and Lance.
Dr. Whitney’s applied Ruminant Livestock Nutrition Research Program is a component of a holistic approach to “Ranching Solutions,” which is the core objective of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, located in San Angelo, TX. His program directly aligns with the AgriLife Research Mission statement, “Scientific discovery that benefits consumers and expands agricultural sustainability, profitability, and environmental stewardship” by: (1) developing low-cost, non-human edible livestock feed alternatives; (2) designing feeding strategies to enhance sustainability and “economic viability” of the livestock industry and increase “resilience to shock” [AgriLife Research strategic priorities]; and (3) developing a nationally recognized “Wood to Feed” program, which removes invasive woody plants from rangelands and converts them into valuable feed ingredients; concurrently enhancing rangeland ecosystem health, forage production, and water availability. In addition, his program’s discoveries also support the AgriLife Research vision of producing “economic, environmental, and health benefits that are key to Texas’s success and vital to the lives of its citizens.”
Specifically, Dr. Whitney has been investigating the nutritional (in vitro and in situ studies) and feeding (feedlot and supplementation studies) values of five woody plant species (Juniperus ashei, J. pinchotii, J. monosperma, J. virginiana, and Prosopis spp.), cottonseed hulls, dried distillers grains with solubles, cottonseed meal, and urea. To enhance the economic value of these ingredients, his studies are designed to: (1) exploit the beneficial attributes and unique characteristics (e.g., plant fiber digestibility, density, buoyancy, and rate of hydration; condensed tannins [CT]; and terpenes) of each ingredient, and (2) ensure the safe use and economic advantages of using these products by evaluating animal growth (average daily gain; ADG), gain to feed efficiency, cost/kg of weight gain, metabolism, health (e.g., blood serum toxicology, internal parasites), rumen microbial physiology and diversity, and end product quality (e.g., enhance wool and mohair quality and production, “healthy” meat fatty acids, and sensory characteristics). Due to the diversity of his research objectives, he has developed highly effective and productive collaborations with multiple colleagues and various industry and government representatives. These collaborations have helped his Livestock Nutrition program achieve a diversity of goals, which have resulted in numerous accomplishments and impacts to the scientific community and the livestock industry.