Fall 2016 Borlaug LEAP fellow Temesgen Desalegn Darago obtained his BSc in Animal and Range Sciences from Mekelle University and his MSc in Animal Production from Haramaya University, Ethiopia. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Animal Nutrition at Hawassa University, where his research focuses on improving the productivity of ruminants through proper nutrition. In Ethiopia, animal nutritionists have worked extensively on macro nutrients like protein, assessing energy and crude protein contents of animal feed resources in the country. However, less attention has been given to the mineral and vitamin nutrition of the livestock in the country. Though energy and protein are of primary importance to all animals, optimum performance of any animal is possible only if there is an adequate supply of minerals and vitamins. Therefore, to supply an adequate level of minerals, both conventional and non-conventional feed resources in the country should be assessed for their mineral contents and improved if possible. Temesgen is interested in identifying these potential mineral supplements for livestock raised in the Wolaita Low Lands of Ethiopia. He believes his research will be immensely helpful to farming communities in the area and beyond by improving the productivity of their livestock through better mineral nutrition status.
After receiving his MSc, Temesgen worked at Madawalabu University in Ethiopia in various positions, including as a lecturer, department head and as the director of the School of Agriculture. He also engaged in need-based professional community services such as training and advising to both farming communities and mid-level livestock professionals. The experiences he gained from his research, education and community services were invaluable to developing his current research project. Temesgen dreams of being a leading scientist in livestock mineral nutrition and hopes to one day establish a regional center for mineral analysis in the country, working to help promote food security across East Africa.
During his fellowship, Temesgen will be mentored by Professor Terry Engle and Dr. Michael Blummel. Dr. Engle is highly qualified mineral nutritionist at Colorado State University (CSU) with experience advising graduate and postgraduate students and with first-hand knowledge of Ethiopia, that will help facilitate Temesgen's research while at the university. Dr. Engle also plans to visit Ethiopia to view Temesgen’s research activities and provide guidance while there. Dr. Blummel, Temesgen’s CGIAR mentor, will help by providing supervision and technical support in the field and at the laboratory level in Ethiopia and also make the ILRI laboratory accessible during the fellowship. Temesgen expects to complete his research and receive his PhD at the end of 2017.