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Department of Animal Sciences


Dr. Jeffrey Firkins honored as Distinguished Professor in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 

Jan. 11, 2024

Columbus, OH-  Dr. Jeffrey Firkins is celebrating 36 years with the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Dr. Firkins also was recognized as a 2023 Distinguished Professor within CFAES, an honor granted to professors within the college whose work creates significant impact in teaching, research, and outreach. 

His years with the department are a testament to his impact, which spans generations of students. "My favorite class is ruminant nutrition, which I've been teaching since 1988. Some students are second generation for me, and that's pretty cool,” shares Firkins. 

Finding a love for nutrition and microbiology early on in his own undergraduate career, Dr. Firkins is now able to translate his fascination with ruminant nutrition into powerful lessons for students in his animal nutrition courses. 

“The best moments are what I call ‘aha’ moments– when students figure out for themselves how much they do not know relative to what they have worked so hard to learn. No matter how busy I am, I will always find time for students, because they keep reminding me of my purpose and blessings to be here.” 

Outside the classroom, Firkins also makes industry-wide impacts through his research. His current research centers on finding new answers to old observations surrounding the role of bacteria and key growth factors in fiber breakdown. Firkins works alongside other researchers and his graduate students to create tangible impacts, helping to improve fiber digestibility and feed efficiency in dairy cattle across North America and Europe.  

“I really try to give graduate students the tools to think on their own rather than simply accept today's answers. It's ok to not know something or to make a mistake. It's what you do about it that counts.” 

While much of his work creates impact on a large scale, Dr. Firkins also creates impact close to home. He enjoys spending time with his wife, three sons, and especially his four grandchildren. When not with them, he is very busy growing the “best sweetcorn in Delaware, Ohio.” 


Please join us in congratulating CFAES Distinguished Professor Jeffrey Firkins on this honorific.