WASHINGTON — Three US Department of Agriculture researchers have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers — the highest honor bestowed by the US government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. The recipients, one of which was honored for work relating to the meat industry, were officially named by President Obama earlier this month and were recognized in a formal ceremony at the White House.

Dr. Michael Looper, Agricultural Research Service animal scientist, was recognized for his work that since 2002 has enhanced understanding of livestock-management practices, especially concerning systematic approaches to animal production. At the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Arkansas, Looper's fundamental research determined key mechanisms of how the brain communicates with the reproductive system in cattle. Looper has also provided unique insight into food-safety issues related to forages commonly grazed in the US.