Dairy cows close up

MONETT, Mo. — University of Missouri Extension dairy specialist Reagan Bluel is a self-proclaimed “science geek.” She likes pawing through the latest science journals to keep on the cutting edge of dairy research that could improve the bottom line of Missouri dairy producers.

“Sometimes useful farm management information is in scientific jargon that is just not very user-friendly,” she says in a university news release.

So Bluel translates the findings to boots on the ground in her podcast series, “Dairy Science Digest.” The podcasts get to the “meat and taters” of new research in simple language, she says. Podcasting allows busy dairy producers to listen when and where it is convenient.

Last fall, Bluel reached out to the then-editor of the Journal of Dairy Science, Matt Lucy, to highlight articles in the peer-reviewed journal. When Bluel was a graduate student in dairy science at MU, she and Lucy had worked together.

When COVID-19 forced MU Extension to shut down face-to-face trainings in March, Bluel realized she needed a new way to serve dairy producers.

Even before the pandemic, dairy producers often find themselves somewhat socially isolated because they need to be at the farm for twice-a-day milkings, seven days a week, 365 days per year, she says.

The downtime forced Bluel to push the reset button.

Bluel decided to produce a short podcast that would highlight just “need to know” info from the Journal of Dairy Science.

Without access to professional video and audio resources, Bluel challenged her husband and children to help her create “Dairy Science Digest.” Her husband played the ukulele music that opens each episode. Her children helped her learn new technology to produce the podcast.

Bluel interviews leading dairy science researchers across the country. She condenses the interviews to under 30 minutes.

You can find the free podcasts at dairy.missouri.edu or email Bluel at bluelrj@missouri.edu.