Faculty Spotlight: Lee & LeVan

Dr. Chanhee Lee

Dr. Chanhee “Chan” Lee is using the study of animal science to lessen farming environmental impacts. His research focuses on nutrient utilization efficiency to improve production and lower nutrient excretion.

Dr. Lee didn’t get his start on a farm. He grew up in South Korea’s largest city, Seoul. However, he enjoyed travelling over two hours from home to rural areas on weekends and summer vacation. “I worked with farm crews to help them feed animals and manage farms. That was fun. Then, I decided to study animal sciences in one of the universities in South Korea,” said Dr. Lee.Dr. Chanhee Lee

Dr. Lee would earn his B.S. in Animal Sciences from Konkuk University and his M.S. in Animal Sciences from Seoul National University, both in Seoul, South Korea. In 2008, he travelled to the United States to begin doctoral study at Pennsylvania State University. He earned his Ph.D. in 2012 and stayed an additional six months working as a postdoctoral researcher examining dairy nutrition and environments. In 2013, he continued as a postdoctoral researcher at Lethbridge Research Centre in Canada. He switched his research to beef cattle nutrition and environmental impacts.

In 2015, Dr. Lee began working at The Ohio State University Wooster Campus as an Assistant Professor. His research focuses on four areas: ruminant nutrition (dairy and beef), feed utilization efficiency, nutrient excretion, and gas emissions in ruminant animal operations.

According to Dr. Lee, “The goal of my research is to lower environmental impacts of ruminant animal operations by improving feed utilization and lowering nutrient excretion and gas emissions from animals and manure. Results from our research will be greatly helpful on current environmental issues in Ohio, the USA, and also the world (water quality, algae bloom, global warming, air quality, odor, etc). “

Dr. Lee is currently working on several projects. The first seeks to improve feed efficiency by manipulating feed ingredients or feeding feed additives. He is utilizing an in vitro system that is a simulation technique of ruminant stomachs (rumen) to evaluate feeds and feed additives in the lab on a small scale, before animal experiments. At the beef and dairy research facilities located at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), his team is currently conducting four different animal trials. They are looking at feed utilization and efficiency, production (milk production or growth), and enteric methane production from ruminants. Dr. Lee’s team is also working on lowering nutrient excretion (especially nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus) from dairy cows that may negatively impact the environment. Through diet manipulation, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur excretion in feces and urine are measured. In addition, manure from the cows is incubated in the lab to measure gas emissions (NH3, H2S, and greenhouse gases) that may cause air contamination and lower air quality. His final research project focuses on manure management as well. The team collects manure from ruminant animals to examine gas emissions to help lower environmental impacts (gas emissions, odor, etc.) by manipulating storage systems and applying manure additives.

Dr. Lee recently returned from conferences for the American Dairy Association and the American Society of Animal Science. He has numerous journal articles both published and in press. He also serves as an advisor to graduate and undergraduate students, as well as visiting scholars.

“The Department of Animal Sciences, OARDC, and OSU, have excellent research facilities including the Beef, Sheep, and Dairy Research Centers as well as a feed mill. The facilities were designed to do research, which is what I enjoy the most. In addition, the barn staff are very supportive on research projects. Finally, faculty members in our department are world-renowned in their field and support the junior faculty. So, I really enjoy working with them.”

Hank LeVan

The Ohio State University Livestock Evaluation Leader and Livestock Judging Coach, Hank LeVan, understands the importance of the Livestock Judging Team to Ohio State. However, his background and experience have prepared him for continuing the team’s long-standing tradition of success.

LeVan grew up on a diversified livestock enterprise in Woodstock, OH, consisting of Show Cattle, Standardbred Racehorses, and Quarter Horses with his parents Dr. Louis LeVan, DVM, and his mother Melissa. At age 10, when LeVan was old enough to join 4-H, his father surprised him with a Shorthorn Steer. According to LeVan, “When I looked over the horse stall railing, I saw a roan Shorthorn steer calf lying in the sawdust. I couldn’t help but smile. Unknowingly to me, my dad was about ten feet behind me grinning from ear to ear.” LeVan spent the next three years showing Shorthorn steers at the Champaign County Fair.

In 2006, after some research, LeVan discovered the Ohio Shorthorn Fall Showcase Sale and convinced his parents to attend. LeVan and his father didn’t know what to expect and found many of the heifers out of their price range. The beginning of their herd had a challenging start. LeVan explains, “As the last lot came in the ring I nudged him [his father] and told him there weren’t any heifers left to sell and he calmly stated, ‘I know’ and smiled. We bought the last heifer in the sale and, of course, she was the cheapest and the only one that wasn’t halter broke.” From there, LeVan continued to go to Shorthorn sales and became active in the Ohio State Shorthorn Breeders’ Association. He also participated in Junior Nationals and the Ohio State Fair.

Hank LeVan (far left, standing) with the 2017 Livestock Judging TeamFor the LeVan family, a lot has changed since 2006. Over the last 10 years, “LeVanderosa Farms” has diversified its breeding program. Currently, they run a 30 head, multi breed, cow herd consisting of Shorthorn, Simmental, Angus, and crossbreds. They also work with local producers to lease around 25 recip cows for embryo transplant needs.

LeVan went on to attend Black Hawk East College and Western Illinois University. It was at these two institutions that he learned the values and techniques that he applies to his teaching and coaching responsibilities at Ohio State. LeVan is hoping to continue and build upon the success of previous Livestock Judging Teams. The first team was started in 1903 with Charles Plumb and there has been a team every year there was a contest. Since their start in 1903, the Livestock Judging Team has won the national contest 9 times. Some of the most nationally renowned judges have coached teams and taught coursework at the University such as Herman Purdy and D.J. Kays.

LeVan has already seen improvement in the team. At the 2017 National Western, in January, the team placed 8th. By April, the team came in first place at the All-East competition. LeVan hopes to continue the team’s growth through more involvement with regional FFA and 4-H groups. Members of the Livestock Judging Team have helped with practices and served as judges in local 4-H and FFA competitions. LeVan hopes to hold a clinic to provide competition insight for FFA teachers and 4-H advisors in either the fall or spring.

The upcoming year promises to be an exciting one for LeVan. He recently married Megan LeVan, nee Perry. LeVan is also looking forward to a productive 2017-2018 season. He thinks that several of his students might be named All-Americans in September. He welcomes contact about the Livestock Judging Team at levan.27@osu.edu.