Donald Beermann, an Iowa native, grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Denison, in Crawford County, and was very active in FFA. Through the years, he has played an integral role in the development of students interested in pursuing careers in pork production, as well as supporting the research priorities of pork producers.
Don earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1971 from Iowa State University, where he worked with Dr. David Topel and his graduate students. He went on to earn a master’s degree in meat and animal science and doctorate in muscle biology and human physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1974 and 1976, respectively.
He then spent 21½ years as a faculty member at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., before moving to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to lead the animal science department from 1999 to 2007. After that, he became director of the Institutional Animal Care Program and Research Compliance, where he led animal research facility renovations for the School of Biology and School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Other positions at UNL included interim director of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and interim associate dean of the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. In 2013, he was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement.
Don took over as chairman of ISU’s Department of Animal Science in early 2015, succeeding Maynard Hogberg, who retired after serving as chair since 2003. He was honored as a Fellow of the American Society of Animal Science in 2016; Fellow of the American Meat Science Association in 2006; and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999.
Don retired from ISU on Jan. 6.
Iowa pork producers have benefited from Don’s work in many ways. With his experience in leading research programs, he helped coordinate priorities of pork producers with new faculty and staff at ISU. As an ex-officio director on the Iowa Pork Producers Association Board of Directors, Don asked for producers’ perspectives and kept them updated on activities in the animal science department, as well as offered insight and attentive remarks.
Don and his wife, Holly, live in Ames. They have three adult children, all married, and six grandchildren.