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CALS Alumnus Highlight: Dr. Travis Arp

As Senior Director of Market Access and Export Services for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Travis Arp (MS ’10) is one of seven College of Agricultural and Life Sciences alumni selected as a UF 2020 40 Gators under 40 honoree.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Missouri, Arp participated on both the meat and livestock judging teams. This led him to UF where he earned a master’s degree in animal sciences (meat science). In 2012, Arp earned his Ph.D. in meat science from Colorado State University.

Today, he is the senior director for export services and market access for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). USMEF is a non-profit organization that works on behalf of its members to promote and expand access for U.S. beef, pork and lamb in overseas markets.

In his role at USMEF, Arp is an ambassador for the beef, pork and lamb industries to help them grow and be profitable. He works to better understand how value is created across the supply chain through exports. Arp shares, “I want to continue to do my best to represent the industry and work to make producers as successful as possible. Doing so will help family-owned operations like the one my family runs continue to be successful for another 100+ years.”

What do you find to be the coolest part of your career?

I love the opportunity to travel internationally and see parts of the world that I never thought I would see. Traveling has allowed me to be immersed in different cultures and better understand the consumers that we sell U.S. meat products to. It’s easy to read about food culture in different parts of the world but I have found I didn’t truly understand it until I lived it. It’s provided me with some tremendous experiences, but also helps me communicate back to the industry in the U.S. how to better market our products in-country.

What brought you to CALS and your department?

My major professor in the meat science department at UF, Dr. Chad Carr, coached my meats judging team while he was a graduate student at Mizzou. Shortly thereafter, he took a faculty position at UF and suggested I come work under him for my master’s degree. I was very impressed with the Animal Sciences Department during my initial visit and moving to Florida provided me an opportunity to see a much different side of the agriculture industry than what I was used to growing up in the Midwest. I was also able to coach UF’s intercollegiate livestock judging team and teach the livestock evaluation class, which is not an opportunity offered to many graduate students at other universities. It ended up being a great decision and provided me a great perspective on the industry.

How did your major prepare you for your career?

The meat science program has an outstanding curriculum for students that provides exposure to many facets of the industry, but also is extremely applied and prepares students well for industry careers. Through applied research, a wide array of meat science classes, and providing students the opportunity to get hands on experience in the meat laboratory, students who study meat science in CALS come away well prepared to handle the challenges of a career in the meat industry. I use much of the knowledge I gained during my master’s degree program on a daily basis at USMEF.

“Students who study meat science in CALS come away well prepared to handle the challenges of a career in the meat industry” – Travis Arp

Animal Sciences graduates work with the science and business of producing domestic livestock species or animal-related products. They may also pursue veterinary studies for future work with companion animals, livestock, or other species. Students study biotechnology, reproduction, genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior, management, and food processing. Find a CALS major that suits your interests by taking our majors quiz. You can also find information regarding our undergraduate and graduate programs on our website.

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