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Dr. Walker Receives Dairy Shrine Leader Award
Cal led by example and always strived to develop and encourage others to take on leadership roles.
The Dairy Leader Award honors those individuals whose outstanding leadership and accomplishments have helped shape the dairy industry in the State of Maine. Dr. Calvin Walker, Extension Dairy Specialist from the University of Maine was such a leader.
Cal grew up on the family farm in Underhill, VT. From an early age he was involved with cattle, participating in 4-H activities and showing cattle at local fairs, as well as the Eastern States Exposition. After graduation from Essex Junction High School, Cal attended the University of Vermont and received his B.S. degree in Animal and Dairy Science. He then went on to graduate school at Cornell University where he received his M.S. (1967) and Ph.D. (1970) degrees in Animal Nutrition.
In 1970, Cal was hired by the University of Maine in 1970 and served as an Extension Dairy Specialist. Among his responsibilities were the coordination of the five area dairy specialists and several support specialists, a position he held until his retirement in 2002.
Throughout his tenure at the University of Maine, Cal has been a leader in developing cutting-edge technology for the dairy industry. In the 1970’s Cal, along with Fred Benson from agricultural engineering, pioneered the use of linear programming for the formulation of dairy rations. This same programming is now used in all ration formulation programs. Cal wrote some of the very first articles on the use of Total Mixed Rations for the feeding of dairy cattle. He also coauthored, with Charlie Sniffen and Bill Hoover, some of the earliest research on protein solubility in the rumen.
In the 1980’s, Cal and a couple of coworkers obtained a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to acquire some of the first personal computers for Cooperative Extension, which ushered in the electronic age of delivery of Extension programs. He also wrote numerous articles on the utilization of locally grown grains and by-product feeds to reduce feed costs.
In the 1990’s, Cal pioneered the use of Interactive Television to broadcast nutrition and forage courses to sites throughout the state. He along with several other specialists from New England developed some of the first spreadsheets to help dairy producers make management decisions. . He organized pasture walks to improve rotational grazing techniques and helped individual farms develop management teams to improve management and decision making.
Over his 32 years at the University of Maine, Cal has written more than 100 articles, fact sheets and other publications and has delivered countless presentations. Cal has worked with all types of livestock producers, farm organizations, 4-H youth, DHI supervisors, veterinarians, government officials and other agribusiness professionals from throughout the state and beyond. Cal has led by example and has strived to develop and encourage others to take on leadership roles. Cal’s expertise, educational programs and outstanding leadership helped Maine’s dairy industry be competitive.
Currently Cal serves on the Board of Directors for the Page Farm Museum and is a member of the Hampden Congregational Church. He and his wife Kathy have two children, Jeff who is an architect in Minneapolis, MN and Janet Trembly of Oakland, ME who is a teacher and presently working with the Maine Department of Education.
Cal has always searched for ways to bring the dairy industry together and to learn from each other. In 1977, Cal organized a two-day dairy conference in Bangor that brought together more than 250 dairy producers, processors and agribusiness people to socialize and to pick up new ideas to improve their businesses. For his many accomplishments, Walker was honored as the 2007 Maine Dairy Shrine’s Dairy Leader.
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