Bob was raised on a cattle ranch and wheat farm in northwestern Colorado, where he graduated from Meeker High School and soon thereafter married Nareen Philp. He graduated from Colorado State University with B.S. (1968) and M.S (1970) Degrees in Animal Nutrition. Dr. John Matsushima, his undergraduate advisor and graduate professor, was honored in the 2016 inaugural class of LOFN. Bob continued his graduate studies at the University of Nebraska under the guidance of Dr. Don Clanton, earning a Ph.D. (1972) in Animal Nutrition.
After concluding his graduate studies, Dr. Lake served as Research Associate at the University of Nebraska North Platt Research Station, conducting an early dose-titration field study on monensin. In 1973 Bob joined Hitch Enterprises, Guymon, Oklahoma, as Staff Nutritionist, a role in which he made immeasurable contributions over the next 42 years. In a myriad of responsibilities while tending to 3 feedlots, 2 farms and a ranch, all the while serving 3 generations of the Hitch family, he developed remarkable expertise in numerous realms –
• Identifying and adopting technologies to enhance performance
• Formulating feedlot rations and supplements
• Leading feed departments on bunk management and feed delivery
• Advising feed mills on grain processing and quality control
• Managing all aspects of high-moisture corn (300 million bushels) and corn silage
• Limit feeding of high-energy rations for growing cattle
• Purchasing ingredients for rations and supplements
• Manufacturing pelleted supplements
Defined by his hands-on style and meticulous approach, Dr. Lake is a recognized authority on high-moisture corn, grain processing, bunk management and limit feeding, having authored scientific articles and lectured at U. S. and international symposia on these topics. One nutritionist respectfully describes Bob as the “godfather” of feeding high-moisture corn, given his unparalleled knowledge of managing this feedstuff from farm to feed bunk.
Because his counsel is highly regarded on an array of subjects, and thus sought after by colleagues, he is appropriately described as a “consultant to consultants.” He has had a profound impact as a catalyst and facilitator for many collaborative university research trials. Bob is also greatly respected by technical and marketing teams throughout the cattle feeding industry, with whom he generously shares his wisdom. Soft spoken, witty and unpretentious, his answers are always direct, honest and deliberate. Integrity and loyalty are the abiding hallmarks of his career. Anyone well acquainted with Bob will attest he is the consummate professional and a true gentleman.
Following Bob’s retirement in 2015, he and Nareen moved from Guymon to Fruita, Colorado, where he remains active as ever, keeping in close contact with daughter Heather and son Kirk, piloting his Cessna 182, gardening, working on family ranches, remodeling a ranch house, elk hunting and fly fishing.