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Research Opportunity Description

Animal Scientist Postdoctoral Research
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Booneville, AR


Project Description:

An Animal Scientist postdoctoral research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Dale Bumpers Small Farm Research Center in Booneville, AR.   The selected applicant will be a member of a multi-disciplinary team.  Body weight gain of livestock will be measured along with back fat and muscle diameter using ultrasound, in vitro digestibility of grazed forages, forage mass and quality, ruminal in-situ disappearance kinetics, blood metabolites, and carcass quality and carcass traits of forage finished steers.  The selected applicant’s research program will use a multi-disciplinary approach to examine cow-calf production and forage finished beef in conventional, organic, and silvopasture farming systems.  The selected applicant will employ sophisticated, basic and applied research techniques including near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and high pressure liquid chromatography to characterize forages.  The selected applicant will conduct lab scale experiments to identify key variables contributing to differences in quality of grass fed beef.


To be eligible, applicants must have received a doctorate degree in an appropriate discipline within five years of the desired starting date.  Complexity of the research requires applicants to possess a multidisciplinary approach and a broad understanding of both applied and basic animal and agronomic principles and techniques.  The research assignment further requires an extensive knowledge of ruminant nutrition, animal physiology, animal husbandry, forage and agroforestry production and management.  Applicants must have the ability to successfully interact with a variety of people in all aspects of the cattle industry.   

The ideal candidate will employ sophisticated, basic and applied research techniques including near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and high pressure liquid chromatography to characterize forages. Novel animal-related methodologies include ultrasonography, blood chemistry, ruminal in-situ disappearance kinetics, DNA isolation and sequencing, and RNA-cDNA hybridization.

Results of research will increase current understanding of livestock management practices, especially concerning systematic approaches of animal production.  The long term objective of this research is to develop an improved understanding of livestock physiology and genetics to enhance the productivity and profitability of meat production from cattle grazing in complex systems (organic, grass-fed) while reducing animal stress.  Ultimately, knowledge obtained from this research will facilitate the development of sound, science-based management strategies that will improve production efficiency, minimize costs, and contribute to sustained livestock and agroforestry production.  Research will yield a series of documentable additions to knowledge of livestock production and physiology in refereed journals that are of considerable interest to the scientific community and farmers.

While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with ARS, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. 

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Additional Information:

The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of the ARS and availability of funding.  The annual stipend rate for this position is $47,923.  A stipend supplement is provided to cover the cost of an individual or family health insurance plan.  The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. Health insurance may be obtained through ORISE.  Relocation expenses in the amount of $4,000 will be reimbursed, with prior approval.   Funding in the amount of $4,000 is available to reimburse travel-related expenses to scientific and professional development activities.   The participant does not become an employee of the ARS or ORISE.

For additional information about the ARS Postdoctoral Research Program, please visit

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project #ARS-DBSFRC-2014-0025-01 in your application and when calling or writing for information.