Celebrating a Career and a Retirement

Alyssa Chamberlain
02/10/2021

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Dave Forrester in the sheep barn
Dave Forrester in the sheep barn

David Forrester grew up working on the family farm in Smithfield, Utah and joined the Utah State University community in 1979. Aside from a brief absence to work the family farm, he remained at the university until his retirement at the close of 2020.

In the 40 years he spent at USU, he saw significant growth at the university and in agriculture. He hauled the first trailer of cattle to what was then the new dairy farm, watched the sheep herd grow from 150 to 800 head, and experienced how technology and equipment can improve efficiency.

Forrester’s work focused on research animals, primarily sheep. He remembers many late nights and weekends spent at the farm during lambing or to care for animals in other capacities. Although the long hours and lack of sleep would be a deal-breaker for some, he just says with a smile in his voice, “Animals can’t tell time.”

Dave Forrester in the sheep barn
Forrester at his retirement celebration

Seeing the success of the research made all the effort worth it for Forrester. He had opportunities to work alongside many researchers, including USU President Noelle Cockett, exploring topics including cloning and orthopedics. Other than sheep, he also worked with ducks, mink, chickens, horses, cows, and turkeys.

Forrester encourages people to find something that they enjoy doing and then to “give it everything you’ve got.” He believes that you’ll get out of it what you put in. Although he didn’t anticipate staying at USU for 40 years when he began, he found research to be exciting and enjoyed the job that became his career.