Sara Maki Smith: Outstanding Alumnus 2017

Sarah Maki Smith graduated from WSU in 1996 with a B.S. in Animal Sciences. In the same year, she was named as the department’s Outstanding Senior Undergraduate Student and the CAHE (now CAHNRS) Aggie of Year. She continued her education at WSU and evaluated methods to improve the feeding value of barley for beef cattle under the direction of Dr. Kristen Johnson to earn her M.S. in Animal Sciences in 1998.

After leaving WSU, Sarah worked a short time for the USDA-APHIS as a plant protection and quarantine officer at the San Francisco International airport. She also served as a legislative assistant for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. Sarah is currently a regional Extension specialist with WSU Extension based out of Grant and Adams counties in Central Washington. She has been an integral educator with WSU Extension for almost 17 years. Her innovative ideas have garnered thousands of dollars through awards from grants, contracts, and gifts.

Sarah’s primary responsibility as an Extension specialist is to provide educational outreach from farm-to-harvest for beef cattle, sheep, and hog producers. Her specialized outreach programs focus on animal care and handling and food animal quality assurance at the farm/ranch level, at animal feeding operations and at harvest facilities. Her sheep shearing schools and low-stress cattle handling seminars for producers are highly attended. Sarah also serves as the leader of the WSU Extension swine outreach program and collaborates with other universities and swine organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

Sarah is a certified National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus Advisor, Beef Quality Assurance Trainer, and Sheep Safety Quality Assurance Trainer. Her educational efforts include working with Grant County Cattlemen, Washington and Columbia Basin Sheep Producer’s associations, Washington Pork Producers association, Adams and Grant county fairs, and 4-H/FFA livestock organizations. She has developed and distributed over 100 educational materials and provided over 170 presentations. Her devotion to educating livestock producers has been acknowledged through awards such as the Golden Sheep Hook Award for Service to the Industry from the Washington State Sheep Producers Association, Excellence in Leadership and Service from the National Pork Board, and the National Association of County Agriculture Agent’s Search for Excellence in Livestock Production Award.