Dr. Carla Sanford began as the Montana State University Beef Cattle Specialist in Bozeman on May 15. Her appointment is comprised of extension, research, and teaching responsibilities, all of which she is accustomed to. Carla was born in South Georgia where her family lives on their fifth generation diversified ag operation that includes row crop, produce, hay, and commercial beef cattle production. She was active in 4-H and FFA serving in several officer positions, competing in horse and livestock judging, as well as raising and exhibiting beef cattle. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with an Associate of Science degree in Agriculture in 2006. In 2009, she graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree in Animal Science. During college she worked at the school farms and local veterinary clinics to gain more knowledge of livestock production and animal health. During her undergraduate internship she worked at the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, TX which is best known for its historic beef cattle operation and horse breeding program which utilizes advanced assisted reproductive technologies. This motivated her to learn more, so she then attended Texas Tech University where she graduated with a Master of Science in Animal Science in 2014.

After completing her course work at Texas Tech, Carla worked for a food animal veterinary business and was trained in cattle embryo transfer. She eventually moved back to Georgia and taught biological sciences and animal reproduction at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College before seeking out a PhD opportunity. At the University of Florida, Carla worked on her PhD program focusing on beef cattle reproduction while also being a graduate research assistant at the UF North Florida Research and Education Center. Carla worked with Drs. Cliff Lamb and Nicolas DiLorenzo for her research at the UF NFREC that focused on dam and fetal, or developmental, programming in beef heifers and cows. She plans to continue with this research focus at Montana State as she sees importance in examining how dam nutrition and environmental stress impacts fetal, neonatal, and postnatal health and performance of beef calves. Carla also worked with the UF NFREC group in research and extension efforts to improve reproductive efficiency, heifer and bull development, as well as nutrition and reproduction interactions.

Carla intends to form a working group to create and resurrect successful programming that address current and future needs of Montana producers and to inform and train them on the latest reproductive tools. She mentioned that, “while many Montana producers utilize a controlled breeding season and assisted reproductive technologies there are still many that do not, and I want to help them reach that point. Someone once asked me how to get a producer to adopt a different practice, I thought of my family and simply replied, show them the facts, the numbers, not the fluff because they love raising beef but they are also successful business owners. There’s not a cookie cutter formula but each operation can be improved. I look forward to working with our talented extension agents and producers so that we may improve this great Montana beef industry.”

Carla is interested in learning about what issues and concerns are currently impacting your ranch so that future MSU research and extension programs may assist in taking your operation to the next level. She looks forward to working with Montana stakeholders and our talented extension personnel. Dr. Carla Sanford’s contact information: 406-994-3454 (office); 229-254-5978 (cell); carla.sanford@montana.edu (email).