Faculty Spotlight: Benny Mote

Benny Mote
Benny Mote
About Benny Mote:
I was raised on a small family farm outside of Happy, Texas, where we primarily had pigs and cows.  After high school, I served in the Army for three years before finding my way to the University of Nebraska—Lincoln for my undergraduate degree in animal science.  I then continued my education at Iowa State University where I received my Ph.D. in animal breeding and genetics under the direction of Max Rothschild.  I also met my bride Brandi while at Iowa State, and we have a 3-year-old son Wyatt, who keeps us on our toes all the time these days.  After my Ph.D., I accepted a position as the molecular geneticist with Fast Genetics, a swine breeding company, out of Canada where I worked until accepting the position at UNL this September. 

What is your position at UNL?
I am the swine extension specialist for the state.  My extension priorities are to help the swine industry in Nebraska be profitable and sustain smart growth. My research priorities are to identify genetic components yet to have been investigated that will improve swine production.

What drew you to UNL?
There were a lot of considerations when making this move to UNL.  I was very fond of the area and the people when I was an undergraduate here and always knew that if a position opened up, I would apply.  That opportunity surfaced, and although I loved my past job, this position was not only a great fit for me, but my wife was also able to secure a position with UNL as well.  With our young son, we are very conscious about raising him in a good atmosphere and Nebraska fits that perfectly.  The company I was working for was bought out while I was making my final decision about the job.  This position was very serendipitous in its timing, but this was truly about a great job that was the best for my small family. 

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I have always liked being able to solve issues and have even been called “mad scientist” at my previous job in industry due to the research that I proposed.  Now, I get to follow through with those research proposals by trying to help Nebraska’s pork producers raise safer, healthier and more efficient pork. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
From a professional standpoint, being able to help improve sow longevity and animal welfare concerns while also simultaneously increasing production is something I take great pride in.  Personally, I have no greater achievement than being a parent to my son as he is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.

What is something that most people don't know about you?
My life is a pretty open book, but most people find it hard to believe that a Texan was able to survive living in Canada for two years.  I even took up curling during the winters and must admit that it is considerably harder than it appears on TV.

What is your life like outside of work? 
My life outside of work consists of spending as much time with family as I can and simply trying to keep up with my son.  I also inherited the family hobby of showpigs and will help my family at shows from time to time.  My work is pigs and my hobby is pigs.  That is either a good thing or makes me a one trick pony.  Hopefully it is the former and not the later.
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