He struggled for a way to remember Caroline and settled on the Dr. Kenneth S. and Caroline McDonald Eng Foundation. It consists of a total endowment of $2 million to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Oklahoma State University and TAMU to fund research in cow efficiency.

Eng says the goal of the foundation is to improve the long-term economic sustainability of the U.S. cow-calf sector. He hopes his gift will spur the development and adoption of technologies to reduce costs of feed inputs by 25%, while maintaining productivity and beef product quality.

An integral component of the endowment is for the participating universities to provide an annual symposium at which research results are presented to the public. The first symposium, held in early September on the UNL campus, attracted about 200 attendees from 14 states for a daylong presentation by researchers from the three universities. Next year’s symposium will be held in San Antonio, TX, in September.

Larry Berger, UNL’s Marvel L. Baker Department Head and professor of ruminant nutrition, says Eng has been a visionary leader in the beef cattle industry for the last 40 years, willingly sharing his insight and knowledge with the industry. “He made his livelihood in the beef industry and is now supporting research on cow confinement so that others can make their livelihood in the beef industry in the future,” Berger says.

“With the establishment of the Dr. Kenneth S. and Caroline McDonald Eng Foundation, Eng has ensured a lasting contribution to beef production in honor of Mrs. Eng,” says H. Russell Cross, head of the TAMU animal science department. “The support of this foundation will allow us to develop a research program that we have described as ‘sustainable intensification’ in beef production systems.

“This program and similar programs in honor of Caroline Eng at TAMU and other land-grant universities will ensure a lasting legacy of innovation and contribution to the beef industry by helping the U.S. to remain competitive in a dynamic global marketplace,” Cross says.

The Eng Foundation also contributes to Wayne State University, where Eng began college on an athletic scholarship, and sponsors the Plains Nutrition Conference graduate student poster session awards.

Keep on keeping on

At 76 years of age, Eng isn’t slowing down. For one thing, you hardly ever find him without a cellphone wedged against his ear, chatting with friends and business associates about the latest industry news, figures or rumors. “I don’t text or email,” he says in his defense. “Each text or email message just leads to more messages. You can get everything taken care of in one phone call, so why would I bother?”

Since Caroline’s death, he’s further limited his research and consulting to concentrate on his cow, ranch and farmland investments. This summer he completed divestiture of his ranch properties in California, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and has concentrated his agricultural investments in southern Mississippi.

His headquarters is now a sprawling property along the Pearl River, approximately 80 miles east of Natchez and 90 miles north of New Orleans. The agricultural focus of the facility is timber, beef cows, and recreational (hunting and fishing) and educational events. The property includes a lodge seating 300 and houses that accommodate approximately 65 guests.

He continues to write — both poetry and scholarly articles. He’s authored more than 600 articles during his career, including the “Beef Bottom Line” article for 30 years for Feedstuffs, which is now a sister publication of BEEF magazine. He’s penned seven books of poetry and produced 10 calendars.

His latest, and perhaps most ambitious, writing project is a sort of combination autobiography and 50-year history of the cattle industry. It’s both autobiographical and historical in that his professional career roughly paralleled the rise and maturity of commercial cattle feeding. The book is packed with Eng’s retelling of numerous interesting and hilarious anecdotes that occurred during his long and  adventurous career.

Broken down by decades, the book sports a working title of “Often Flawed, Never Bored.” The book will cover the years 1963 to 2013.

“I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to have been a participant and play a role in almost all facets of the industry for the past 50 years,” Eng writes in the book’s introduction. “Others have accomplished as much, but I seriously doubt anyone has had more fun, good times and excitement. I and many of my good friends had our share of wrecks and flaws, but we never let that stand in the way of a good time.”

The book is due out in mid-2014.

 

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