Johnson to lead WSU Department of Animal Sciences

JohnsonPULLMAN, Wash. – Kristen Johnson, professor in the Washington State University Department of Animal Sciences, is serving as interim department chair as Margaret Benson phases into retirement.

Johnson has been at WSU for 25 years and is a respected teacher, student advisor and researcher in ruminant nutrition. Benson led the department since 2007 and will return to the faculty as a professor, primarily working on special projects.

“The undergraduate program, in particular, strengthened as a result of Margaret’s efforts,” said Kim Kidwell, acting dean in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. “And both the department and CAHNRS leadership are confident that Kris is the right person to lead the department to the next level of success.”

Johnson at work at WSU.

“Animal sciences has a tradition of quality research, teaching and outreach,” Johnson said. “We will build on what Margaret has done as we continue with the important work of educating our students and doing research on sustainable animal and human health to benefit animals and our industry.”

The department has approximately 400 undergraduate students, 30 graduate students, and faculty members in Pullman and around the state doing research, teaching and extension work.

Johnson’s research focuses on how beef cattle use energy from feed. She also works on environmental issues pertaining to the cattle industry. Projects include measuring trace gas emissions from beef production to evaluate mitigation strategies and developing management alternatives to minimize resource use by livestock.

Johnson earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State in 1987. She has served as director of the WSU Center for Environmental Research Education and Outreach, associate dean of the Graduate School, a member of the National Research Council Committee on Animal Nutrition, an editorial board member for the Journal of Animal Sciences and a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and many professional journals.


Kristen Johnson, WSU Department of Animal Science interim chair, 509-335-4131,