Bob Swick recently joined NSM to promote the benefits of soybeans grown in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota for animal feed.

Mike Langseth sounded like a coach whose roster received a boost from a midseason trade or free-agent signing.

“We’ve got a good team,” the Northern Soy Marketing board chair said. “They each bring something very different to the table, and Bob’s going to fit in well.”

Bob is Bob Swick, an expert in animal nutrition hired by NSM in the organization’s efforts to promote the benefits of soybeans grown in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota for animal feed.

Swick joins Peter Mishek, a marketer from Mishek Inc. & Associates, and Seth Naeve, an agronomist from the University of Minnesota, as NSM contractors.

“We’re excited to bring Bob on board,” Langseth said. “I think he’ll be able to help us better convey our soy quality message to our customers’ nutritionists. He can speak their language, and he will connect the soy quality work that Seth has done for us with the marketing that Peter has done.”

So it’s a Dream Team, of sorts?

“I think they’re really good,” Langseth said.

Mishek said with Swick, NSM has brought aboard one of the most-experienced nutritionists who knows Southeast Asia, having conducted feed trials and spoken to and developed relationships with buyers in that important market region for northern soybean growers.

“He’s kind of a star, if there was such a thing in terms of a nutritionist,” Mishek said. “He’s walked the walk. He knows what’s involved and has tremendous credibility with customers. … I don’t think you’d find anybody with more credibility.”

Originally from Chicago, Swick has lived abroad for the last 30 years, working for Novis International and, later, the American Soybean Association in Singapore for 20 years before being hired as a professor of animal nutrition at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.

Armidale, where he still resides, is located about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane but three hours inland from the country’s east coast.

Swick, who has retired as a fulltime professor, is still employed parttime at the university, working with graduate students, and is the industry research coordinator for Poultry Hub Australia, an initiative of an Australian cooperative research center in which resources and information about commercial poultry production can be shared.

His current research interests are in animal energetics, protein and amino acid nutrition, nutrient metabolism and gut health.

“Throughout my whole career, I’ve focused mainly on poultry,” Swick said, “and to a lesser extent, pigs and aquaculture.”

Swick, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northern Illinois University and a master’s and doctorate in animal nutrition and toxicology from Oregon State University, began his career in the Nutrition Chemicals Division of Monsanto in St. Louis. Later, he moved to Singapore to become a product development manager for Novus before becoming ASA’s Technical Director for Poultry and Livestock. Swick has been a consultant with feed and livestock producers, oilseed crushers and nutritional chemical suppliers in Asia, South American and the United States. He has published more than 300 technical papers, bulletins, reports and journal articles and holds a patent on a novel grain preservation system.

“He’s a natural fit,” Mishek said. “He has impeccable credentials, he’s an excellent speaker, he knows poultry and pork, as well, and he has known about our project since our inception. He brings the one part of the project that we probably need to address a little more aggressively, and that is the animal nutrition side.”

With NSM, Swick will help research the formulation of monogastric animal feed rations with soymeal as the primary source protein source. He will give an animal nutritionist’s perspective on the economics of energy, digestible amino acids, sustainability and other items of feed value.

Swick said he’s already had conversations with Mishek and Naeve about the sucrose content of northern-grown soybeans and the potential value that might be there as well.

“We want to formulate different feed and see what value adds to the feed cost,” Swick said.

“Now I’ve got a bit of work to do.”