Meet Becky Quesnell, Our Product Development Director
Prepared by M Street LLC
As TransAgra continues to grow, we have the unique opportunity to add more and more talent.
One individual we are proud to introduce is Dr. Rebecca Quesnell, our new product and market development director.
While her academic credentials are notable, what we think is even more important is her down-to-earth nature and ability to communicate with scientists and farmers alike.
Let's meet Becky.
How did you become interested in agricultural science?
My dad came from a farming family and was a pastor in rural communities, so we spent time on many different farms when I was growing up. What always struck me was that there were so many similarities in the work ethic on the farm, and in the generous spirit of tending to the land and to the animals, no matter what state we were in or what type of farm it was. On the farm there is an advanced understanding of how the world works together to care for one another, and a commitment to provide food that sustains life. I think that’s when it got in my blood.
In college at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, I fell in love with science.
After college I worked in cardiovascular and renal medical research at Oregon Health Sciences University and had been accepted to a medical school program elsewhere when a professor from Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine called me and asked me to consider their program instead. I left for Manhattan, Kansas and have never been disappointed in my decision to focus on animal health and agricultural science.
My PhD program focused toward bovine mammary health and toward swine reproductive health and lung health. As I moved on to Cornell University and Quality Milk Production Services, I once again had a chance to spend time on many different farms in many different settings – including international visits to farms around the globe. I was asked to join Pfizer Animal Health/Zoetis and had the opportunity to focus on animal health on a global scale.
What truly inspires me is that the work ethic and commitment to tending the land and caring for the animals is the same on farms throughout the whole world.
The generous spirit of the farmer continues to nurture the world, and it is a joy to be able to be a part of an industry, as I join TransAgra, committed to helping the farmer nourish the animals and the land.
You have a lot of experience in scientific research. What is your favorite part of conducting research? What is your goal when you start on a new project?
My favorite part of research is the Discovery! As scientists, we ask a question and then
research what has been done in the past to help us form a hypothesis. We test the
hypothesis with the best experimental designs we can devise and gather the data. When
we take an unbiased look at our results and draw conclusions from our results, no matter
how clear the answers might be, there are always more questions – Why? How? What?
I love reading peer-reviewed scientific publications and getting to the “Discussion” section where they suggest the interpretation of the results and what they mean – in nearly every article, new questions or experiments are posited as next steps.
When we work to “discover” the answers in science, we usually discover the next question. It’s wonder-full!
My goal when starting on a new project is to make sure first that I understand the question being asked. Without a clear understanding of the goal or query, we cannot design the best experiment to answer the question.
Asking great questions and designing great experiments is what scientists do, and what we do here at TransAgra.
We know you have worked at colleges and for large pharmaceutical corporations.
What factors made you want to come to an emerging company like TransAgra?
When I learned of TransAgra’s long history (more than 50 years!) as a company of selling this natural product that has so many benefits to animal and plant agriculture, I knew that they had something wonderful. Coming from large pharma, there is a certain amount of chasing the trends, and each employee could be working on many different projects at the same time just hoping that one might actually have value, so coming to TransAgra is refreshing.
TransAgra has a clear focus and such a fantastic product line that they don’t need to chase the trends – they are at the leading edge of the curve because they have products that work with the animal’s own immune system to provide the incredible health benefits their products assure.
One of my specialties in animal research has been transition stress for production animals,
and TransAgra’s product line provides the dietary support animals need as they face the
physiological challenges and physical stressors that might naturally depress their immune
system’s ability to respond. Culbac helps them gear-up for a healthy start and a strong,
What's your biggest project right now at TransAgra?
My biggest project with TransAgra right now is expanding the global outreach and expanding markets. Culbac is available in many countries around the world, but there are many more that are interested in having a natural immune support product, particularly as the world looks to decrease the use of antibiotics in agricultural settings. What better way to decrease the use of antibiotics than to support the immune function of the animal throughout its life with this simple, easy-to-use, and natural food product!
Even the carrier in our dry product is a natural corn base – it costs the company a bit more to provide that to the customer, but we are all about ensuring that the consumer is confident in the quality of the food the animal receives, which is one of the reasons we are looking to expand our product opportunities to the pet food arena.
Having a natural immune-supporting addition that provides digestive benefits to your pet food without having the concerns or challenges of live bacteria (our product contains non-viable cells, so there is no need for special storage or cleaning concerns), would be an easy addition to an extruded food product. We are looking forward to expanding our partnerships in this area.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The only thing I’d like to add is a note of thanks to the great group of people that work at and support TransAgra. Moving to Iowa in winter has been an adventure. I’ve had such a warm welcome to the company, and I see so many incredibly dedicated, committed, and talented people here who are really interested in supporting crop health and productivity, and animal health and welfare around the globe. And a note of commendation to all of the producers and processors that distribute and use TransAgra’s Culbac line of products in their agricultural pursuits: Great Choice!
At TransAgra, we are committed to integrity in our business relationships and furthering innovation to increase the value of our products. Above all, we seek to aid livestock and crop producers by providing natural, effective, safe and environmentally-sustainable solutions for their enterprises. We believe this will improve our planet and the lives of those with whom we share it.