Yuma County, Colorado

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Yuma County Pioneer Photographs:

Kelcey (Powell) Swyers,
Courtesy Yuma Pioneer

Yuma native Dr. Kelcey (Powell) Swyers was honored recently with the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Rising Star Award.

Swyers has spent her life involved in the agriculture industry. She grew up on her family’s farm, spending countless hours learning about livestock and the agriculture way of life. She had a great example of excellent agriculturalists as both of her grandparents farmed.

At a young age, Kelcey learned about commitment to the land and animals, how to work with her hands, and that her word was her bond. Kelcey showed livestock in 4-H and FFA, earned her American FFA Degree, and served as the Colorado State FFA Secretary in 1995-1996.

After graduating from Yuma High School, she received full-ride academic scholarships to judge on the livestock judging teams at Northeastern Junior College, and then at Colorado State University, where she obtained dual degrees in Animal Science and Ag Business.

At CSU, she was a member of Collegiate Cattlewomen’s, and was the founder and coordinator for a state leadership retreat for FFA members called “MAPS” that was held at Pingre State Park.

Upon graduation from CSU, she worked for Cargill Animal Nutrition's Nutrena and Acco brand feed divisions in Ft. Worth, Texas; eventually becoming a territory manager for them in the Rocky Mountain Region. Shortly after, Kelcey got the opportunity to learn about carnivore diets as the district manager for the pet food company, Royal Canin, along the eastern shore board.

In 2004, she married an Air Force Captain, Jon Swyers, and they lived in Maryland for the first years of their marriage. While living on the east coast, Kelcey tackled her Master of Science degree in Equine Nutrition at the University of Maryland and got her work published in the Journal of Animal Science.

While studying at the University of Maryland, Kelcey was able to use the USDA’s research facility at College Park and received the “Top Graduate Student Award” by the University of Maryland’s Animal Science Department.

After completing her master’s degree, Kelcey’s husband decided to exit the Air Force, and they returned to Colorado so she could pursue a Doctorate degree in Ruminant Nutrition at CSU on a full-ride Dean’s Scholarship.

Her Ph.D. work got published in the Journal of Animal Science and in the Journal of Food Protection, and she received an award from ConAgra/Swift. She also was able to present her award-winning research at the American Society of Animal Science meetings in Montreal, Canada.

While completing her Ph.D., Kelcey was presented with an opportunity to return to Ranch-Way Feeds, where she had once been an intern, to be their head nutritionist. In 2013 she received the “Industry Partnership Award” by CSU’s Animal Science Department and was chosen to be an Affiliate Faculty Member. In January of 2015, Kelcey started her own private nutrition consulting business called Grassland Nutrition Consulting with the majority of her clients being cow-calf producers, farmer-feeders, and bull and heifer developers, in addition to dairy nutrition work.

In the span of her career thus far, Kelcey has done nutrition work for every type of commercial livestock and many types of exotic and companion animal species including elephants at the Denver Zoo, giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Muskoxen at the University of Alaska.

The greatest reward of her career has been getting to work with people from her hometown of Yuma, and continuing to assist people she has known her whole life. Kelcey currently works and lives near Wellington with her husband Jon, and their 5-year old daughter, Peyton. They have a small beef cow herd and Kelcey enjoys showing her horse, “Husker,” at versatility ranch horse shows. Dr. Swyers is a very accomplished asset to the Colorado agriculture industry and is the 2016 Rising Star in Colorado Agriculture.

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