Brent Woodward Associate Vice President of Research Shawano, Wisconsin Cooperative Resources International

What are your new responsibilities?
Direct research programming across CRI and its subsidiaries. Administration of internal and external research, as well as administer funding, and conducting research in a functional area. Recruit and supervise research staff and their work within and across CRI operations. Develop and administer policies and procedures to manage intellectual property associated with the organization's R&D.

What territory will you cover?
Research activities occur in multiple countries. Of course, sales do as well!

Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up raising and showing cattle, sheep and horses through 4-H.I owned and raised cattle with my parents throughout my educational years.I also had exposure to mixed cattle and crop farming operations through both of my grandparents. Working as a state extension specialist and consultant have also given me a wide range of real-world experiences in agriculture. Traveling to all 50 states and more than 30 countries has given me considerable exposure to agriculture given many of these trips involved some connection to agriculture.


What education are you bringing with you to this position?
Cornell University: M.S. and Ph.D. in animal breeding and genetics, with minors in nutrition and statistics; Oklahoma State University: B.S. in animal science; postdoctoral associate at University of Georgia; DAAD fellowship in Germany; and various leadership and management courses.

What previous positions have you held?
I began my professional career as an Extension Animal Scientist during which time I consulted part time. After leaving academia, I consulted in the U.S. and abroad full time for three years before going to work as a research geneticist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

From 2004 to 2012, I worked for Merial Limited to build IGENITY, a cattle DNA testing start-up business. I was the director and senior scientist of research and development for IGENITY, which led to a portfolio of products (DNA tests) from single SNP to 50,000+ SNP profiles for 32 traits of economic importance for beef and dairy cattle producers.IGENITY was sold in 2012. I then became a managing partner of NextGen Animal Consulting LLC, providing public and private organizations around the globe with research and development consultation.

How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
There will be an increased focus on conducting research that has practical application for the improvement of our existing products and/or the development of new products. In addition, we plan to increase our emphasis on research through hiring new people and conducting more, targeted research for a wide range of products.

Why did you choose this company?
CRI and its subsidiaries have an outstanding reputation as ag businesses.If you look more closely, you will see that they excel as employers because employee turnover is quite low, with many people working 20, 30 and 40-plus years. In addition, this position gives me an opportunity to capitalize on my prior experiences conducting my own and collaborative research, strategic planning, product development, management of intellectual property and negotiation.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
I will work to bring a targeted approach to research efforts at CRI that will involve more central oversight and coordination across the organization and its subsidiaries. In addition, I will develop a process that engages and invites input from key divisions to ensure our research is geared toward investigating and resolving issues that impact our customers and/or affect our products in the marketplace. PD