Mark Boggess has been named director of the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, effective May 19, the center formally announced today.

Boggess has been with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service since 2009, serving as a national program leader in Beltsville, MD. There he worked in food animal production and pasture, forage and rangeland systems.

Boggess will replace Neal Martin, who retired in January 2013 after 15 years as director.

The new director has a background in animal science and animal breeding. He helped lead programs to improve pasture and rangeland management practices, as well as genetics and genomics, nutrition, animal welfare, meat quality and reproductive physiology.

Before joining ARS, Boggess was the owner-operator of a 450-cow purebred Angus and Simmental beef seed stock operation. Earlier, he was director of the Animal Science Committee for the National Pork Board, president of Salmon Creek Farms, Twin Falls, ID, and started his career as a swine and beef cattle extension specialist for the University of Idaho.

He holds a doctorate from Iowa State University and a masters from Cornell University, both in animal breeding, as well as a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State.

The U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center works to improve the use of forages in dairy cattle diets. The center has a research farm in Prairie du Sac, WI, and a dairy research unit in Marshfield, WI.