Jul 27, 2020

foundationformeatandpoultry-logo transparentThe American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces that Dr. Gregg Rentfrow is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award.  The award was established in 1965 to recognize outstanding achievement in meat science extension and service to the industry and is sponsored by the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education. Dr. Rentfrow will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

RenfrowGreggDr. Gregg Rentfrow was raised Shelbyville, Ill., a small farming community in Central Illinois, where he was active in 4-H and FFA growing up.  His career in the meat industry began in 1988 in the meat department of a local grocery store. Rentfrow worked in the retail meats industry for over 14 years with five different grocery store chains as a meat cutter, head meat cutter, market manager and zone manager.  His father, who taught high school agriculture, encouraged him to study meat science at the University of Illinois.  Taking his father’s advice, he transferred from Lake Land College to the University of Illinois (U of I) where he was a member of the 1996 Meats Judging and the 1997 Meat Animal Evaluation Teams.  Drs. Tom Carr and Floyd McKeith mentored him through his Master’s degree at the U of I.  During that time, he was the Assistant Meats Judging Team Coach and the head coach of the Illinois 4-H Meats Judging Team, winning the National 4-H Meats Judging Contest in 1999.

Rentfrow earned his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Berg.  He resurrected the meats judging program, served as the interim meat lab manager, and the Meats Specialist for the Commercial Ag Program while at Mizzou.

Rentfrow joined the University of Kentucky (UK) in 2006 with an 80% Extension/20% Instruction appointment.  His marquee extension programs are the UK Meat Cutting School, the Food Systems Innovation Center and the 4-H Country Ham Project.  The UK Meat Cutting School has trained well over 1,000 meat cutters from 12 different states in slaughter, carcass and retail fabrication, and processed meats.  The Food Systems Innovation Center focuses on aiding food entrepreneurs and has helped introduce over 75 Kentucky Proud products into the marketplace as well as the development of Cherry flavored Ale-8-one and several menu items at Fazoli’s.  The 4-H Country Ham Project has grown to over 825 4-Hers from over 80 Kentucky counties, maintaining a vital food tradition in the Commonwealth. 

His efforts have earned him the following awards; Outstanding New Extension Faculty, Outstanding Service to Kentucky’s Beef Industry, Kentucky Pork Producer’s Associate Member of the Year, AMSA Achievement Award, Midwest ASAS Outstanding Extension Award, Teachers that Make a Difference, the youngest winner of the M.D. Whiteker Award for Excellence in Extension, Distinguished Professor of the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology and the Southern ASAS Extension Award.

Rentfrow teaches ASC 300 Meat Science, a hands-on class that allows him to utilize his retail experience to help make his students better consumers.  His student evaluation scores are consistently higher than department, college, and university averages.

During his off time, he enjoys time with his wife Sheila and daughter Brooke, along with riding his Harley, running, lifting weights, and mixed martial arts, as well as being an active member of St. Mark Catholic Church and as a tour guide at Buffalo Trace Distillery.

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