Livestock program adds two new faculty members

AhrensTwo new LSU AgCenter faculty members plan to expand 4-H and the AgCenter and LSU College of Agriculture School of Animal Sciences livestock programs.

Crystal Ahrens and Tyler Braud will work with 4-H members and agents and LSU students.

Ahrens, 4-H youth development livestock specialist, plans to be a resource for 4-H agents working with youth on animal projects. She also has an academic appointment to teach undergraduate courses in the School of Animal Sciences.

Braud is an instructor in the School of Animal Sciences, teaching several courses a semester. He will assist with the 4-H livestock program, mainly during the summer.

Originally from Arkansas, Ahrens said she is excited to be at LSU and wants to start conducting trainings for 4-H agents, especially those who don’t have a livestock background. She also wants to revamp or implement livestock leadership and educational programs for 4-H’ers.

“I see areas where we can improve, and we’re going to,” Ahrens said.

She wants to build more livestock opportunities into 4-H University, an event held annually each June on the LSU campus.

Ahrens has worked in the animal industry, training feedlot workers on quality assurance and as an animal welfare specialist. She has also worked on the academic side as an instructor and livestock judging coach in Wilburton, Oklahoma. She said this job combines her passions.

“This is my dream job,” Ahrens said. “I’ve always wanted to get into extension, and to get to do it at a big land-grant university is an exciting opportunity.”

BraudBraud grew up showing beef cattle in Ascension Parish. While a student in the LSU College of Agriculture, he was active in the Block and Bridle Club and served as a student worker at the horse and sheep research units.

“I am very excited to be back home and look forward to working with the faculty and students in the department,” Braud said. “It’s exciting to get the opportunity to work alongside those that mentored me during my time as an undergraduate student.”

Braud was an agriculture and natural resources and 4-H extension agent in Mississippi before returning to LSU. His main responsibility will be teaching, but he will be active in the 4-H livestock program and plans to help with advising student organizations.

“I would like to see undergraduate students more involved in student organizations and taking advantage of educational opportunities, such as judging and quiz bowl teams,” Braud said. “Our department offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to become involved and gain valuable skills and knowledge related to animal agriculture.”