Faculty Spotlight: Karla Jenkins

Karla Jenkins

About Karla Jenkins

Karla Jenkins received her B.S. from Texas A&M and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. She is the cow/calf specialist for the university at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. Her research program includes finding more efficient and economical ways to produce beef cattle while sustaining the range resource. This research often includes evaluating annual forage crops and alternative uses for grain crops, such as field peas, as components in beef cattle diets to improve sustainability and efficiency of cattle operations in western Nebraska. Since 2009 she has been studying limit feeding energy dense by-products mixed with crop residues to maintain beef cows in confinement to provide grazing deferment for range, maintain a core herd from liquidation, or as part of a system to reduce dependency on pasture. Her extension program involves working with producers to explain and implement practices found to be beneficial through research.


What is your position at the University of Nebraska?

I am the Cow/Calf Specialist for the university located at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff.


What drew you to the University of Nebraska?

I had done my graduate work at UNL and I already knew what a tremendous university it is.  I was very excited to become a part of this fantastic team.


What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?

The educational part of my job is helping beef producers implement research-based practices that will help them be more efficient and profitable in their operations.  I truly enjoy being able to interact with producers, find out what issues they would like for me to be researching, and sharing with them research-based suggestions to improve their profitability and their sustainability.


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

From a personal standpoint I would say it is being a mom to four wonderful kids. From a career standpoint I would say it has been conducting research on alternative feeding options for beef cows, which has helped a lot of producers withstand drought conditions and has helped young producers get started without buying more land base.


What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I took three summer classes between my junior and senior year of high school so I could graduate that summer. I then started college the fall my peers started their senior year of high school. Just didn’t like high school much I guess.


What is your life like outside of work?

I am busy outside of work. As I mentioned I have four kids. One of them also works in extension, one is an Army helicopter mechanic, one is in an aviation program in the Navy and one is still in high school. The one in high school is in 4-H and FFA so we have beef and lamb projects at the house. He is also in football and track, loves to weld and helps me with the lawn, garden, and other projects. I also like to do a little running and have entered several half marathons, 10K’s and 5 K’s.