University of Vermont

UVM Extension Hires New Livestock Specialist

Joe Emenheiser, who is based in the University of Vermont Extension office in St. Albans, has been hired as the new UVM Extension livestock specialist and will work primarily with beef and sheep producers throughout Vermont.

St. Albans--University of Vermont (UVM) Extension recently hired Joe Emenheiser as its new state livestock specialist.

Emenheiser's primary responsibilities will be to develop programming and provide technical assistance to Vermont's diversified livestock farms to help them improve efficiency, product quality and marketing. His position covers all types of livestock and poultry except dairy cows and horses.

He is based in the UVM Extension Office in St. Albans and is available to work with farmers, meat processors, marketers, consumers, 4-H'ers and other youth to educate them about livestock products, quality improvement, production efficiency, marketing and other areas. Although currently working primarily with beef and sheep producers, his goal is to expand the poultry, swine and other livestock industries in the state.

Emenheiser earned his bachelor of science (honors degree) in animal science with a livestock merchandising option from Oklahoma State University in 2004 and his master of science in animal and poultry sciences with a focus in quantitative genetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2009. He also attended Virginia Tech for his doctorate, completing his doctor of philosophy in animal and poultry sciences with a focus in beef production systems this past December.

The livestock specialist grew up in Felton, Pennsylvania, on a 15-acre farm where his family raised livestock and produce for their own use. He joined 4-H at an early age, working with market lambs through the 4-H sheep project. As a 4-H'er he built a breeding flock by shearing sheep for ewe lambs in lieu of cash and competed successfully at the state and national level both in 4-H and collegiate livestock and meats judging events. In 2002, he began acquiring purebred Suffolks for a flock, which he still has today, along with a flock of Blue Plymouth Rock chickens that he started three years ago.

In addition to serving as both a graduate teaching and research assistant at Virginia Tech, in the past decade, Emenheiser has worked with the National Sheep Improvement Program and was employed as the sheep flock manager for a 2,200-ewe commercial flock and lamb feeding operation in New York and as a butcher in Pennsylvania.

While in Virginia, he officiated at numerous 4-H and National FFA Organization (also known as Future Farmers of America) meats and livestock judging and stockmen's contests and developed programs for the Virginia Governor's School for Agriculture and other organizations. He also has judged sheep, swine, beef and dairy livestock shows in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Emenheiser can be reached at (800) 639-2130 (toll-free in Vermont) or (802) 524-6501, ext. 434, or by e-mail at