Harlan Ritchie, widely regarded as the man who led beef's transformation in composition, size and growth potential, died April 27. His 47-year career at Michigan State University (MSU) was marked, friends and colleagues say, by his big vision and his remarkable ability to teach both students and beef producers about the changes he saw were necessary for the beef business to be successful.
"In the last 50 years, Harlan probably had as much impact on Michigan animal agriculture as anyone," said his colleague David Hawkins. "He was a visionary who tried to anticipate trends in the livestock industry and consumer habits. He was certainly ahead of the curve, and he brought Michigan to the forefront of national recognition with his activities nationally and worldwide."
Ritchie came to MSU in 1957 as an instructor as he pursued his doctorate. He never left MSU and reached the title of Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, reports Michigan Farm News.
"Harlan was a phenomenal educator," said his friend and business partner Ken Geuns, who worked with Ritchie at MSU and later in partnership on a beef cow-calf operation. "He had an incredible ability not only to have a thorough grasp of basic science, but to translate that into production-oriented information to students, Extension, and industry. He was highly sought after as an educator and to do programs and workshops throughout the state and the world."
Click here to read more about Ritchie’s life and contributions to the beef business.
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