Dr. Lyda Garcia’s enthusiasm for education and meat science makes an important contribution to the uniqueness of the Department of Animal Sciences. Through her background in livestock production, meat industry internships, graduate school training and research, and her international work, she seeks to bring monetary and product value to the meat industry, producers, and consumers.
Dr. Garcia grew up in Hebbronville, Texas. The South Texas town of approximately 4,600 people has an agricultural core where many are very proud of their southern Texas culture. Dr. Garcia’s interest in animal science came from her father Modesto Garcia, a Texas cowboy who raised commercial cattle, meat goats, and had working horses. “I spent a lot of my time with him during my summers, away from my school year activities. He had a 3rd grade level education, but a Ph.D. in life," said Dr. Garcia. Her interest in sharing her knowledge with others came from her mother Amada S. Garcia, she was a public school teacher and taught night courses in Hebbronville to migrant workers interested in becoming U.S. citizens.
In order to combine her interests in agriculture and education, Dr. Garcia pursued degrees at every level of higher education. She earned her Associates of Science (A.S.) from Clarendon College, her Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Animal Science from Texas Tech University, her Masters of Science (M.S.) in Animal Science/Meat Science from West Texas A&M University, and her Ph.D. in Meat Science from Texas A&M University, College Station. She also completed post-doctoral research at Texas Tech University. Prior to joining Ohio State, Dr. Garcia was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at Texas Tech University. She taught an undergraduate meat science course, traveled to Central America and Mexico as a food safety team member to collect and process samples for E. coli and Salmonella in beef and pork processing plants and markets, and assisted the dean’s college in increasing diversity for CASNR.
Since joining the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University in February 2015, Dr. Garcia works tirelessly to build the Meat Science program, and the Meat Judging Team. She spends her weekdays teaching a variety of MEATSCI courses (Introductory Meat Science, Meat Animal and Carcass Evaluation, Harvest and Fabrication, and Branded Meat Products) and advising Animal Science and Meat Science majors. Many of her academic-year weekends are spent travelling with the Meat Judging team, conducting carcass demonstrations for producers, or speaking at county cattleman meetings. Her additional Departmental service includes: faculty advisor to the Meat Science Club, Extension events and recruitment, CFAES Faculty Council, and Departmental committees. Dr. Garcia brings her passion and enthusiasm for agriculture to the youth of Ohio by working with the 4-H Meat Judging program, a program that began in February 2017 thanks to Dr. Garcia.
Paige McAtee is a senior Animal Sciences major with a minor in Meat Science. Dr. Garcia's enthusiasm for meat science and higher education has inspired McAtee to study with Dr. Garcia in graduate school. "Dr. Lyda Garcia is a professional who believes in telling the bigger picture. Working with Dr. Garcia throughout my undergraduate time in Columbus through classes, meat science club and the Ohio State Meat Judging team, has helped me develop my knowledge of the industry, as well as myself and my strengths. Her willingness to teach, and trust in the process of learning is exactly why I have decided to pursue a Master's degree under her direction".
When she’s not busy with Departmental activities, Dr. Garcia finds time for her extension/outreach speaking and carcass demonstrations along with her research. Her research foci are: 1. adding value to cull cows in monitoring conversion rate of white to yellow external fat and 2. the effects of sub therapeutic antibiotic administration on carcass traits in pigs. Her research benefits both the producers, beef and swine industries, and consumers of meat by adding monetary and food safety value. Dr. Garcia also won a 2016 SEEDS grant through the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). The OARDC Research Enhancement Competitive Grants Program is funded by appropriations to The Ohio State University. The goal of the SEEDS is to foster research excellence among OARDC-supported scientists and faculty in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Garcia also attends conferences when possible. This past summer, she was a speaker at the National Reciprocal Meat Conference with the American Meat Science Association hosted at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Lyda Garcia has brought her passion for meat science and agriculture to the Department of Animal Sciences for over two years. Her areas of focus include: building the undergraduate meat science program, educating/recruiting the youth of Ohio, and capitalizing in areas of agriculture. According to Dr. Garcia, “I am here to serve. I believe in the power of education, and I believe in agriculture. We shall not forget about the future of agriculture; we shall not forget about our youth. If our youth take an interest in agriculture, encourage them to pursue their interest. Agriculture no longer consists of ‘Sows, Cows, and Plows.’ I assure there is a job awaiting.”
Dr. Garcia encourages our youth to ask themselves, “What is it that you are good at? What comes naturally? And whatever that may be, you should pursue. Perfect your strengths!”