Chris grew up in eastern WI with a dairy and vegetable farm background. She attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and graduated with a BS in dairy science and a minor in agriculture business. She then completed her master’s degree in Dairy Nutrition at the University of Wisconsin- Madison while working for the USDA Forage Research Centre. Her research focused on forage quality, specifically centred on the fermentation dynamics of forages and the influence of bacteria and enzymes on that process.
After graduating in 1990, Chris was employed at Vita Plus Corporation. Here she had a dual role working as a dairy nutritionist, balancing rations and managing the forage program. As Forage Program Manager one of her primary responsibilities was to take technical information related to forage and distill it down to practical field applications. This involved looking at proper harvest timing and inventories, optimal crop processing, feed and forage centre layout and storage, fermentation and density assessment, effective sealing and covering of forage bunkers and piles and proper feed out to minimize dry matter losses and maximize quality. Her ultimate goal was to improve farm profitability through the combined efforts, knowledge transfer and multiplication of all personnel involved in forage management including in-depth training of both industry and on-farm staff.
Her passion in working directly with dairies on forage management sparked an interest in the entire forage production system and the dynamics of multiple biological systems working together. She has worked extensively with custom harvesters, farm managers and crews, nutritionists and veterinarians in an effort to assess critical control areas and develop plans to enhance farm profitability through improved forage decisions. Ultimately this lead her to launching her own consulting business, Forage Innovations, LLC in the spring of 2016.