After a national search, the inaugural holder of the Bühler Lecturer will be Sam Cook, who has been working since 2016 as a post-harvest engineer and feed technologist in Iowa State’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. He began his new responsibilities on Oct. 9.
“Bühler is well-known and highly respected for its technologies and systems for grain and feed processing,” said Steve Mickelson, chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. “We’re grateful to the company for partnering with us on this new position, as we work to expand academic offerings for the benefit of our students.”
As the Bühler Lecturer, Cook is teaching a new course this fall in feed processing and technology and leads laboratory sections for a grain preservation course. He will be a leader with other faculty in developing a new minor in feed technology that will help educate a new generation of talent for the grain and feed industries. He also will support continuing education for feed industry professionals.
Cook also is part of a team developing plans for a new feed mill and grain science center. In September, Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced $14 million in gifts in support of the new educational and research facility, a $21.2 million project to be funded entirely through private giving. Those gifts have jump-started in-depth planning and development as fundraising continues to meet the final goal.
“Supporting this faculty position is an investment in the future of the U.S. feed industry,” said Rene Steiner, president of Bühler North America. “We look forward to the leadership that the Bühler Lecturer will provide to developing the new feed technology minor. We also look forward to collaborating with Iowa State in the future to offer feed manufacturing and feed safety short courses that help industry professionals obtain the continuing education they need.”
Gerardo Morantes, director of Food Safety for Bühler and an animal nutritionist by training, has been a guest lecturer in the new feed processing and technology course taught by Cook, and also will offer his expertise to another new course on feed safety, ingredient quality and analytics to be offered next spring.
“It’s exciting to see Iowa State offer these new courses that teach the fundamentals and address key knowledge gaps and challenges,” Morantes said. “They will better prepare students for careers in the feed industry.”
Cook received a bachelor’s degree in feed science and management and a master’s degree in grain science, both from Kansas State University. While at Kansas State, he helped to develop educational and training materials for grain industry professionals, and conducted research in preserving grain and feed ingredient quality by controlling stored grain insects. One of his internships was spent developing a quality assurance program and training employees for a feed mill in Laos. In his previous position at Iowa State, Cook helped to coordinate an international poultry and feed value chain project in Ghana.
Cook is a native of Spirit Lake, Iowa, where his family operated an equipment manufacturing and supply company for the grain and feed industry. He worked for the company several years before pursuing his academic career.
“I’m extremely honored to join the faculty here at ISU and help train and educate a new generation of talent for the grain and feed industry,” Cook said.
Bühler’s commitment, made through the Iowa State University Foundation, is part of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.1 billion, which will help support Iowa State in its goal to become the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.