Benjamin Bohrer

Benjamin Bohrer
Associate Professor

As a meat scientist, Benjamin Bohrer’s work centers on researching the most effective ways of raising animals and processing meat to produce high quality, healthy products for consumers.

“What I find most rewarding is having direct involvement with a resource that people need on a daily basis,” Bohrer said. “Working within the food industry, you get to see the impacts of your research efforts on a daily basis, even when sitting at your own dinner table.”

Bohrer is looking forward to the opening of the new Multi-Species Animal Learning Center because it will allow more undergraduate and graduate students to work closely with animals and learn about the food cycle holistically. Students already have access to a federally inspected meat processing facility on campus. Now, they can learn more about animal production and welfare, without having to leave campus.

“This will allow for a farm-to-fork learning experience for the students, where we’ll get to see animals being raised and then fulfilling their purpose all the way to end-user products like steak or bacon,” he said. “Being able to connect all the dots here, within half a mile distance, will be so critical in reaching educational initiatives of the 21st century.”

In the past several decades, the number of people working in the food production industry has declined greatly (approximately 1.4% of the U.S. population had direct on-farm employment in 2022, compared with approximately 30% in 1920), leading to a rising lack of understanding in the general public about how food is produced. Bohrer hopes that Waterman can become a new resource for public engagement, where interested people can better understand the complexity of food production systems.

“One of the big challenges we have in the animal product industry is transparency with consumers,” Bohrer said. “Initiatives that bring in people to see those animals and those production systems are so vital to the future of the animal agriculture industry. [The Multi-Species Animal Learning Center] will be at a size and scale where the general public can come and witness what we do.”