George Heersche
Extension Professor

  • (859) 257-5987
  • (859) 257-7537
  • 406 W.P. Garrigus Building
    Lexington KY 40546-0215
  • Department of Animal and Food Sciences
  • Specialties: 4-H Youth Physiology

Professional Profile

Professor of Dairy Science Extension


Doctor of Philosophy, Physiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas - 1975.
Ph.D. Dissertation: Estrous synchronization and factors affecting semen quality of beef cattle.

Master of Science, Dairy Science, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas - 1973.
M.S. Thesis: A study and classification of bovine cystic ovaries.

Bachelor of Science, Agriculture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas - 1970.

Additional Information

Extension Program Overview

George Heersche, Jr. has been Extension Dairy Specialist at U.K. since June of 1978. His primary responsibilities are to provide high quality extension educational programs in dairy cattle reproductive management and 4-H. His program has two foci:

  1. making Kentucky dairymen aware of the financial benefits which can be realized through proper breeding and reproductive management, and teaching them the skills necessary to those apply recommended practices, and 
  2. conducting excellent 4-H dairy educational programs and managing the statewide 4-H dairy educational programs so they are conducted to be the greatest benefit to the youth participants.

George is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in dairy youth development. George is a teacher, coach, mentor, counselor, advocate and role model. George is recognized statewide by youth, parents, 4-H agents and local leaders as the ambassador of Dairy Extension, the Animal Sciences department and the University of Kentucky. George teaches youth skills in observation, evaluation, logic, decision making and oral communication through dairy cattle judging. George has coached three National Championship 4-H dairy cattle judging teams which have participated in international competition in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also coached the high individual in four national competitions.

He conducts several annual statewide and national 4-H dairy educational opportunities including the Kentucky 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl, Kentucky Youth Dairy Cow Camp, the state 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, and the Top-12 4-H Dairy Judging workshop. George was superintendent of the 4-H Dairy Show at the Kentucky State Fair for 20 years, and for the past 12 years he has been superintendent and co-superintendent of the Youth, Post-Secondary and Collegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contests at the North American International Livestock Exposition. He is also chairman of the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Management Committee.

George started the Kentucky 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Program in 1979 and still conducts the State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl. He is one of three people who started the National 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl which is held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville.

Dr. Heersche is also recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in dairy cattle reproduction. He has worked closely with the allied industries to increase the successful utilization of Artificial Insemination in dairy herds. George is sought after as an educational and humorous speaker, and he has been an invited speaker for conferences in many states a well as Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In 1996 he wrote the chapter on dairy cattle reproduction for the new North Central Regional 4-H publication "Learning About Dairy."

Involvement Beyond Program Thrusts

George has collaborated on many research projects. Dr. Heersche team teaches ASC 462G, Artificial Insemination of Farm Animals, and guest lectures in ASC 120, Introduction to Animal Science, and ASC 420G, Dairy Cattle Science. He also serves as mentor to the graduate student who teaches ASC 323, Advanced Dairy Cattle Evaluation.

George was a charter member of the faculty teaching the distance learning class "Introduction to Animal Science" which is broadcast from KET. He was a primary collaborator on the teams which developed the Gee Whiz in Agriculture shows "From Moo to You" and "Chickens & Piglets & Lambs, Oh My!", estimated to have about 100,000 viewers per year.

George has been a member of the American Dairy Science Association for three decades and has served as chairman of the ADSA Physiology Committee. He reviews journal articles for the Journal of Dairy Science and Theriogenology. Dr. Heersche is also a member of the National Dairy Shrine Board of Directors.

Recent Abstracts

Dolecheck, K.A., W.J. Silvia, G. Heersche Jr. and J.M. Bewley. 2014. Reproductive performance of timed artificial insemination and activity-based estrus detection. J. Dairy Sci. 97 (suppl. 1): abst 344.

Dolecheck, K.A., W.J. Silvia, G. Heersche Jr., A. E. Sterrett, B.A. Wadsworth, and J.M. Bewley. 2014. Changes in behavioral and physiological parameters around estrus in partially synchronized cows. J. Dairy Sci. 97 (suppl. 1): abst 1491.