Keith Belk, professor and head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, was recently granted the American Meat Science Association 2021 International Lectureship Award.
AMSA established the award in 1992 to honor individuals for contributions to the field of meat science and technology. Award recipients are active leaders who promote international activities for the benefit of society via meat science and technology.
Although the AMSA typically gives the International Lectureship Award to individuals outside the United States, Belk becomes the eighth American – and the second person from Colorado State University – to receive it. Animal Sciences Professor Temple Grandin was the first, honored in 2020.
“It’s a prestigious award, and I’m grateful they considered me for it,” Belk said. “I just hope our students have similar opportunities to those I’ve had because they’ve been unique. The benefit of me having those opportunities is we’re working hard now to give more students more opportunities to do similar things.”
Traveling the world
While he was earning his Ph.D. at Texas A&M in the 1990s, the Agricultural Marketing Service recruited him to help address the lack of programs on value-added exports from the U.S.
“I spent the first part of my academic career traveling all over the world and working to help U.S. companies export products,” said Belk.
The extensive travel helped him become familiar with the industry, and to gain exposure and recognition.
“It gave me a lot of knowledge because I was visiting governments all over the world,” he recalled. “It gave me a lot of knowledge about how trade should and should not work.”
More than 30 years later, Belk still travels nearly 150,000 miles annually. However, trade agreements are not the only thing on his international agenda. Belk regularly gives talks and presentations, serves on several expert committees, and brings graduate students to present research findings.
Through years of international service, Belk has built the foundation to teach, lead and inspire the next generation of international animal and meat scientists.