Published on 06/24/20

UGA's John Bernard honored by American Dairy Science Association

By Maria M. Lameiras

University of Georgia animal and dairy science Professor John Bernard has been named the winner of the 2020 Nutrition Professionals Inc. Applied Dairy Nutrition Award from the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA).

Bernard, who joined the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science on the UGA Tifton campus in 1998, is an expert in the nutrition and management of dairy cattle. His work focuses on improving nutritive efficiency, profitability and cow comfort.

“It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of the Nutrition Professionals Inc. Applied Dairy Nutrition Award, especially when I look at the list of previous recipients. During my 32-plus-year career, I have been fortunate to be able to conduct applied research and contribute to our understanding of dairy nutrition,” Bernard said.

Bernard’s research program involves improving the utilization of nutrients provided by forages and by-product feeds in dairy rations. Current research projects involve effectively using winter annual and perennial grass for lactating dairy cows, enhancing the use and digestibility of whole cottonseed and other by-product feeds, studying protein and amino acid metabolism by lactating dairy cows, and reducing heat stress through environmental and nutritional modification.

ADSA created the Nutrition Professionals Inc. Applied Dairy Nutrition Award to stimulate and recognize outstanding achievement in research, teaching, extension or industry in applied dairy nutrition. The winner must have made significant contributions to the dairy industry in the area of applied dairy nutrition in one or more areas, such as applied nutrition research related to improved production efficiency, reproductive function, or herd health; integration of innovative nutritional management practices into profitable management systems; or education (including technology transfer and extension) and application of nutritional information to students, producers and the public.

Since 2008, Bernard has served as research, extension and instruction coordinator for animal and dairy science at the Tifton campus, where he’s responsible for daily operations, budget and staff. His UGA Cooperative Extension program focuses on improving dairy producer returns through the use of good management practices and decision-making in the areas of forage production and management, nutrition, replacement heifer development and cow comfort.

"Dr. Bernard’s background and training prepared him perfectly for the work for which he is now recognized. Growing up on and then managing his own dairy farm, working as a field agent for a major dairy cooperative, excellently trained at the University of Georgia in applied nutrition, John is definitely the dairyman’s scientist, as he truly understands their needs," said Francis Fluharty, animal and dairy science department head. "Being appointed in both extension and research meant that he dealt directly with dairy farmers, county agents and industry professionals, learned their needs, and designed and conducted research to meet those needs. He then returned his findings to those who used his research results. So it is the perfect circle of his experience and expertise, the needs of the industry, and the ability to deliver the research to meet those needs that make him so deserving of this award. John has been a great servant to the dairy farmers of Georgia and the U.S. He is very deserving of this award, and we at the University of Georgia are proud that he is being recognized for his service to the dairy industry."

Bernard is a member of ADSA and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and was appointed as a Diplomat in the American College of Animal Sciences, Animal Nutrition Discipline of ARPAS in 2011. He is a past president of ARPAS and has served as a director and officer of the Southern Branch of ADSA, director of the production division of ADSA, and senior advisor to the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association. He received the Cady Award from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association in 2013, the Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Award from ADSA in 2011 and the Honor Award from the Southern Branch of ADSA in 2006.

Bernard has secured more than $3.6 million in grants and gifts to support his applied research program, and to date, he has published 89 manuscripts, five book chapters, 68 bulletins and research reports, and 119 abstracts.

He has actively collaborated with researchers in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to improve production in these tropical areas and to train graduate students and young faculty. As part of his extension duties, he has published 189 popular press articles and provided many county, state and regional talks. He works cooperatively with faculty from the University of Florida to coordinate the UGA-UFL Corn Silage and Forage Field Day, Dairy Education Seminars at Sunbelt Expo and other joint extension events.

Bernard holds master’s and doctoral degrees from UGA and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

ADSA is an international organization of educators, scientists and industry representatives who are committed to advancing the dairy industry. ADSA members are keenly aware of the vital role the dairy sciences play in fulfilling the economic, nutritive and health requirements of the world’s population.

More information on the UGA Department of Animal and Dairy Science is available at

Maria M. Lameiras is a managing editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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