Ken Odde (center), former department head for animal sciences and industry, was recognized on May 15 by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City for his service to the animal industry.


Ken Odde, former department head and currently a professor in Kansas State University’s department of animal sciences and industry, has been presented the Jay B. Dillingham Award for Agricultural Leadership and Excellence.
The award is given annually by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, which also recognized Lowell Mohler, the former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
“These individuals have had a positive and lasting effect on our community,” said Robert Thompson, chair of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City. “They are strong examples of what being an advocate for agriculture can accomplish.”
Odde has spent his career serving the animal industry including the last 11 years leading K-State’s department of animal sciences and industry. During his tenure as department head, undergraduate enrollment grew from 793 students in 2007 to 1,226 students in 2017 while also increasing faculty and research productivity. Under his leadership, $32 million in new and renovated facilities were added to the department.
Odde earned a bachelor’s degree at South Dakota State University prior to serving as an officer and platoon leader in the U.S. Army. He later obtained a master’s degree and then simultaneously completed veterinary and doctoral degrees at Kansas State University.
After 11 years in research and teaching at Colorado State University and eight years with Pfizer Animal Health and AgSpan, he became head of the department of animal and range science at North Dakota State University, serving in that role for two years. He joined K-State’s animal science department in 2007 as department head and then in 2018 transitioned into a faculty role with a research and teaching appointment.
His philosophy in educating undergraduates is to provide not only lecture education, but “hands-on experience” that he says is critical to developing graduates that are ready for the animal industry. Sixteen K-State students have completed internships at Odde’s ranch in South Dakota.
Odde has authored or co-authored more than 250 refereed journal papers, proceedings and abstracts, experiment station publications and technical bulletins. He has also been an invited speaker at scientific, veterinary and producer meetings in more than 30 U.S. states and six foreign countries.
He has been a leader in professional societies as well. He served as secretary, president-elect and then president of the Western Section American Society of Animal Science from 1992-1994. He also served as American Society of Animal Science Foundation Trustee from 2000-2002. In 2012, he was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science, an organization that was created to increase advocacy for federal funding of research in animal agriculture. He served as president of NAAAS in 2016-2017.
Odde and his wife, Arlene, maintain active roles in the management of their South Dakota ranch. The couple has three grown children and six grandchildren.

Original release May 17, K-State Research and Extension

K-State professor lauded for agricultural leadership, excellence