Dr. John Matsushima was first introduced to agriculture at 4-H and FFA club meetings when he was in grade school. Today, at 99, Dr. Matsushima’s involvement and passion for agriculture are as vibrant as ever.
“When I was young I had the opportunity to show my cattle at the Weld County Fair, and I had the honor and the privilege of meeting Kenny Monfort.” Dr. Matsushima said. “From there on, I became interested in my university work. And I did quite a bit of research with cattle. And when I was doing research, I encountered several questions that I couldn't find an answer to. That’s what kept me interested, finding the answers to unsolved problems!”
Dr. Matsushima is a seasoned character of Colorado agriculture, and his research has had global impacts. He was at the forefront of introducing steam-flaked corn into mainstream cattle diets. Steam flaking corn allows for ruminant animals (beef cattle) to break down the corn with ease. Steam flaking increases the surface area of corn, while also thinning out the kernels.
“I was visiting with three other major cattle feeders: Warren Monfort, Lou Dinklage, and Earl Brookover, and we were having lunch together,” started Dr. Matsushima, “I asked them, ‘What is the most expensive item in your cattle feeding business?’ And they said that the feed costs are around 80% of the total cost. So that's when I thought one way to help the overall industry is to improve the method of preparing the corn. And that's when I came up with the idea of steam flaking the corn and that process is now used all over the world.”
Because of Dr. Matsushima’s commitment to his research, consumers all over the globe can purchase beef at 10% less than what it would normally cost. In his decades of research, Dr. Matsushima has seen many technological advancements – many of which he has been a part of! Cattle ranchers around the world have benefited from his research, and Dr. Matsushima continues to inspire the next generation of beef cattle researchers.