Kathleen Crandell, has been named superintendent of the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Middleburg, Va., one of 12 centers within the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station part of the Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Crandell brings to the position extensive knowledge in the area of equine research as well as practical experience with horses. For many years, she has been involved with the breeding and foaling of horses.
“Dr. Crandell has an extensive background in equine nutritional research and a passion for this position,” said Craig Nessler, director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean for research at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center is an important center to the experiment station and the college, and Crandell’s substantial leadership experience and strong background are an invaluable asset to the position, which will ensure the center’s continued success.”
She succeeds Gayle Sommer, who joined the center early 2005. Crandell said her goals for the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center include having it “become a key educational center for the horse community in Northern Virginia and vital resource for equine pasture nutrition research at the national and even international levels.”
A graduate of the Virginia Tech animal science program for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Crandell received her Ph.D. in 1996 and subsequently started her own equine nutritional consulting company. Crandell has worked extensively with Kentucky Equine Research through which she has designed and formulated feeds for several mills in the U.S. and internationally and has been an invited speaker on equine nutrition around the world. She has an extensive publication record and a thorough familiarity with horse-farm management as well as general management experience. Throughout the years, she has remained closely involved with the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center as a volunteer and supporter.
The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center is a 420-acre farm with research focused on equine pasture nutrition. The late Paul Mellon donated the land and a supporting grant to Virginia Tech in 1949. For almost 40 years, the center was used mainly for beef cattle research but, with further assistance from Mellon, it was re-dedicated in 1986 to equine research in pasture nutrition. The center is currently home to four Thoroughbred stallions and more than 40 Thoroughbred broodmares, all of which have been donated by many supporters, and about 40 Thoroughbred weanlings and foals. This breeding herd is used for studies on nutrition in such areas as bone growth and development, the insulin/glucose response, reproductive efficiency, and disease prevention. In addition, the center has about a dozen Arabian horses used in studies on nutrition and exercise. Research objectives are to develop feeding programs to enhance performance and health in the horse while at the same time protecting and enhancing the land.