Lisa Kriese-Anderson was raised on a farm in upstate New York. She was introduced to Extension through 4-H, which started her on her career path. She notes that at 9 years old, after completing her first heifer project, she knew she wanted to be involved with beef cattle the rest of her life. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, Master of Science from Kansas State University, and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.
For all of Kriese-Anderson’s career, she served as a faculty member and Extension Animal Scientist in the Department of Animal Sciences at Auburn University. She started as an Assistant Professor in 1993 and retired as a Full Professor in 2019. Kriese-Anderson’s subject matter expertise was beef cattle breeding in which she helped producers understand the current available genetic selection tools and how to use them in their cattle herds. When she came to Auburn, she really wanted to teach students, but with no positions open, she realized Extension was teaching - mainly to people over 21—so she embarked on a course to get Alabama beef producers excited about beef cattle genetics. In hindsight, she notes that her career trajectory may be as much that “God leads you down the path” more than personal choice.
She led the Auburn University BCIA Bull Test and the North Alabama BCIA Bull Development Programs. She also had the opportunity to lead Alabama Pasture to Rail project and be an integral member of the Beef Quality Assurance Is Every Cattlemen's Business Program, Master Cattle Producers Program, Herdbuilder Replacement Heifer Sale, Women in AG, and AG Discovery Adventure. From 2005 to 2018, she also served as the Animal Science and Forages Team Leader for a group of Extension professionals who she says that they were “amazingly dedicated, hard-working and innovative.”
Kriese-Anderson values the advice she was given early in her career. As a Northerner and only the third female Extension Animal Scientist in the country, she recognized she faced challenges; “I was advised to stick to what I knew well and to always be prepared.” She recognizes three great mentors: Dave Maples (the Alabama BCIA Fieldman at that time), Jimmy Holliman (then overseeing the Black Belt Research Center) and Tommy Brown (Chilton County CEC at that time). She recalls that they introduced her to groups as follows, "you may have heard Auburn hired a woman specialist and that she is a Yankee.
However, she knows what she is talking about, and you need to learn from her." Because they believed in her, she listened intently to them and tried to incorporate everything they suggested. They also served as sounding boards on the tough days.
All of Kriese-Anderson’s best projects were the result of teamwork. She says her proudest work moment was the creation and implementation of the Beef Quality Assurance Is Every Cattlemen's Responsibility program. Alabama was chosen to create a national pilot program to teach beef producers about the importance of BQA. The team created 3 life sized displays and presented programs in a total of 87 locations in AL as well as Memphis and Denver. Twelve states copied the program, and the fundamentals of those displays are still in service 23 years later.
Kriese-Anderson notes that Extension sometimes struggles to get its message to those who need it most. As many beef cattle producers enter the business after retirement from other careers, they have no knowledge of Extension and could benefit from enhanced outreach.
Kriese-Anderson is keeping busy in retirement with a non-AG related part time job. still helps with Extension’s Herdbuilder Replacement Heifer Sale and recently helped create Blackbelt Cattle Marketing with two other partners. Kriese-Anderson’s husband, Brian, is the swine unit manager at Auburn. Their daughter, Shelby, graduated from Auburn University with a double major in Communications and Business Marketing. Shelby is currently working at Amazon in Nashville as a Marketing Analyst. Kriese-Anderson and her husband enjoy watching Auburn Women’s Basketball, Auburn Baseball and “of course” football. They are also making it a priority to visit friends across the country now that they have the opportunity.