Thompson Rivers University

John Church

Name: Associate Professor John Church
Position: Cattle Research Chair
Affiliation: Natural Resource Science
Phone: 250-828-5150


Fatty acid and related nutritional composition of beef,
life cycle assessment and empirical measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from beef production, precision ranching, remote sensing using unmanned aerial vehicles,
beef cattle welfare and optimization of beef cattle production

Research Interests

Dr. John Church is an Associate Professor in Natural Resource Science at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia as well as TRU's BCIC Regional Innovation Chair in Cattle Industry Sustainability. Dr. Church earned his PhD in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, studying the effects of production practices on the behavior and management of cattle, elk and bison on farms. Dr. Church now leads a multidisciplinary research team at TRU dedicated to the exploration and invention of innovative practices and technologies leading to the sustainability and enhancement of the cattle and bison industry, rangelands, meat production and related products. The focus of Dr. Church's research program is on new opportunities for beef and bison producers in the areas of value-added and branded meat production, which includes human and environmental health. In addition, his research program is now using drones for Precision Ranching, with a goal towards improved management of both the animals and the land base they depend on.


Dr. Church earned his PhD in Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science from the University of Alberta in 1997, studying the effects of production practices on the behaviour of ruminant animals. He holds a M. Sc in Biology from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia (1993), and a B. Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Alberta (1991).


1. J.T. Mufford, M.W. Reudink, M. Rakobowchuck, C.N. Carlyle, and J.S. Church* (2021). Using unmanned aerial vehicles to record behavioral and physiological indicators of heat stress in cattle on feedlot and on pasture. Canadian Journal of Animal Science

2. D. Gellatly, D. M. Melendez, S. Marti, D. Moya, X. Yang, J. S. Church*, and K. S.Schwartzkopf-Genswein. (2020). Effects of repeated exposure to either energized or non-energized prods on the behavioral responses of beef cattle to handling. Journal of Animal Science. 97(3): 7-17.

3. D.J. Hill, T. Pypker and J.S. Church (2019). Applications of Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Forest Hydrology, Chapter 5 in Forest-Water Interactions, Editors Levia, D.F.,Carlyle-Moses, D. Lida, S., Michalizk, B., Nanko, K., Tischer, A. (Eds.) First Edition, Springer,480 p. ISBN 978-3-030-26085-9

4. J.T. Mufford, D.J. Hill, M. Paetkau, N. Flood and J.S. Church* (2019). Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and photogrammetric image analysis to quantify spatial proximity in beef cattle. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems. 7(3): 194-206.

5. F.C. Rioja-Lang, J.K. Galbraith, R.B. McCorkell, J.M. Spooner and J.S. Church*(2019). Review of Priority Welfare Issues of Commercially Raised Bison in North America. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 210: 1-8.

6. R. A. J. deBruyn, M. Paetkau, K. A. Ross, D. V. Godfrey, J.S. Church and C. Ross Friedman. (2018). Themogenesis-triggered seed dispersal in dwarf mistletoe. Nature Communications 9, 16218. DOI: 1628

7. D.J. Hill, C. Tarasoff, G. Whitworth, J. Baron, J.L. Bradshaw and J.S. Church* (2017). Utility of unmanned aerial systems for mapping invasive plant species: A case study of yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus L.). International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38 8-10): 2029-2036

8. G. Regev-Shoshani, B. McMullin, N. Nation, J.S Church, C. Dorin, C. Miller. (2017). Non-inferiority of Nitric Oxide Releasing Intranasal Spray Compared to Sub-therapeutic Antibiotics to Reduce Incidence of Undifferentiated Fever and Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex in Low to Moderate Risk Beef Cattle Arriving at Commercial Feedlot Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 138: 162-169.

9. D. Prema, J. Jensen, J. L. Pilfold, T. D. Turner, K. K. Donkor, B. Cinel and J. S. Church*(2016). Rapid determination of n-6 and n-3 fatty acid ratios in cereal grains and forages by 1HNMR Spectroscopy. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 96(5): 730-733, 10.1139/cjps-2015-0302

10. C. S. Tarasoff, K. Steichert, W. Gardner, B. Heise, J. S. Church and T.G. Pypker (2016). Assessing benthic barriers and aggressive cutting as effective yellow flag iris (Iris Pseudacorus L.) control mechanisms. Invasive Plant Science and Management 9(3). 229-234.

11. J.T. Mufford, M.J. Paetkau, N.J.Flood. G. Regev-Shoshani, C.C. Miller and J.S. Church*(2016). The development of a non-invasive behavioural model of thermal heat stress in laboratory mice (Mus musculus). Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 268: 189-195.

12. T.D. Turner, I. Hartling, J. Jensen, J.L. Pilfold, D. Prema, J. D. Van Hamme, B. Cinel, K.K.Donkor and J.S. Church*. (2016). Fatty acid profile of British Columbia suckler beef. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 96(2): 91-94.

13. L.C. Soliman, E.M. Andrucson, K.K. Donkor, J.S. Church* and B. Cinel (2016). Determination of Fatty Acids in Beef by Liquid Chromatography-Electrospray Ionization Tandem Mass Spectrometery. Food Analytical Methods 9(3): 630-637.

14. D. Prema, T.D. Turner, J. Jensen, J.L. Pilfold, J.S. Church*, K.K. Donkor, and B. Cinel.(2015). Rapid determination of total conjugated linoleic acid concentrations in beef by 1HNMR spectroscopy. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 41: 54-57.

*principle investigator

Employment History

Dr. John Church is an experienced researcher and previously was employed as a ranch manager with seven years of experience with the Alberta provincial government and five years of work experience in the livestock industry. Prior to joining the Alberta government, John was employed in the private sector for five years, as both an animal behavior consultant to the oil and gas industry, working primarily with elk and bison, and as a manager of a large ranching operation in southern Alberta where he actively raised many diverse species such as bison, elk, white-tailed deer and caribou and beef cattle. While managing an extensive ranching operation that was uniquely vertically integrated, Dr. Church was able to learn first hand the benefits of value chains within that industry, and the importance of environmental sustainability.

Courses Taught

NRSC 1110
ENVS 5000
AGSC 2200
NRSC 4140
ASUR 1040

Professional Affiliations

The British Columbia Institute of Agrologists
The International Society of Applied Ethology
Society for Range Management
Canadian Society of Animal Science


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