Outstanding In His Field
The agriculture community was stunned this week by the news that one of its brightest young shining lights had been lost. Penn State meat scientist Dr. Chris Raines died last Sunday afternoon in an automobile accident near the university. Here’s just a few thoughts I shared on my Food and Farm broadcast, dedicated to Chris.
At 29 years of age, Raines was universally hailed as an ag wunderkind. The bright, ebullient, edgy young professor challenged conventional thinking while doggedly advocating fundamental truths about meat production in the U.S. His students adored him for his gift of intellectual stimulation and senior industry professionals valued his insight and straightforward outspokenness.
Chris Raines impressed almost all those who met him in person, but perhaps his most far-reaching presence was on the internet. Raines quickly embraced the fledgling Twitter platform and grew with it, becoming recognized around the world by his on-line persona, iTweetMeat. His electronic nom de plume illustrated both his razor-sharp wit and his abiding passion for all things meat. Not to be limited to 140 characters, Raines also established blogs and posted YouTube videos to combat the viral spread of misinformation about meat production and consumption.
A Penn State news release about Raines opened with the statement,
The temptation, of course, is simply to dismiss Chris Raines as an odd-duck college professor. After all, who else would have a blog titled “Meat is Neat?”
The article goes on to correctly characterize Raines as
a serious scientists on the cutting edge of food technology – not some misguided meatball obsessed with obscure details about steaks, chops and tenderloins.
Our mutual friend Jesse Bussard had also been a student of Raines during her undergrad work at Penn State. In her Pearl Snaps Ponderings blog, she writes
The number one quality I admire in people is passion. Chris Raines was a man of passion. No matter what he did, he was forthright and honest. He put it all on the line and didn’t hold anything back. These are qualities that make a difference in this world and I truly believe Chris Raines made a difference.
Google Chris Raines and you’ll find a tremendous outpouring of respect from a community that loved and trusted him.
It’s good to have a little bit of Dr. Chris Raines still with us.
Listen to the podcast at http://www.raybowmanlive.com/apps/podcast/podcast/181961