AnSci Connection - April 2019

Notes from the Department Head

As I look out the window this morning, there is a sea of blue jackets moving around on campus.  Yes, the 2019 Minnesota State FFA Convention is in full swing. It’s great to see so many FFA members here on campus participating in the conference, competing in the Career Development Events, and, hopefully, learning about opportunities in CFANS and Animal Science.  It seems like just yesterday when I too proudly wore the blue jacket.  Just like then, the future is bright for students interested in animal agriculture.  While times are difficult now for dairy and some other segments, the long term forecast for the agriculture and food industries remains sunny. 

On April 3, 2019 we celebrated the annual Animal Science Showcase, which gave us an opportunity to highlight just a few of the many things the Department, its faculty and staff, and its students are creating to advance our knowledge of animals.  We also had the great honor to recognize two outstanding alumni of our department, Mr. John Goihl (Industry) and Dr. Tom Porter (Academia).  It is always a treat to learn about the experiences of alumni during their time on campus, and especially about how those experiences helped shape their careers. 

Speaking of experiences on campus, this week I look forward to exit interviews with soon-to-be alumni, our graduating seniors.  I enjoy hearing students reflect on their brief time with the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota and collecting their thoughts on what we might do better. 

Our congratulations to assistant professor Dr. Milena Saqui-Salces who Provost Hanson has recommended to the board of regents for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  Dr. Saqui-Salces joined the Department of Animal Science in 2013. She has developed an outstanding research program in gut physiology and is an expert in organoids of the swine digestive tract.  She is a key member of the Integrated Animal Systems Biology Team and leads our departmental efforts in development of our honors program.

Please also join me in welcoming John-Paul Salvador to a new role as manager of the University of Minnesota Dairy in St. Paul.  JP previously worked as a farm animal attendant at the dairy and comes to us from California where he had several jobs in dairy management, including at Fresno State University.  He replaces Saige Sulzberger who resigned to pursue other career interests and will be moving to Wisconsin.  The Department wishes Saige all the best in her future endeavors, and we look forward to working with JP in his new role.


Hope all of you have an excellent month.  Ski-U-Mah!

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

The Department of Animal Science is seeking a graduate student who has a strong agronomy background and an interest in animal science. The student would work on three well-defined and funded research projects including yield, forage quality and preference of horses grazing cover crops; validating a hand-held NIR unit for use with haylage and dried hay; and determining the impacts of alfalfa populations on yield and forage quality. Ideally, the student would be able to start by June 1, 2019. Funding is secured for 2 years (salary, tuition, and project expenses) and the student would be located on the St. Paul Campus. The student would be in the Animal Science graduate program, but would work collaboratively with faculty in Agronomy. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required (but a GPA > 3.2 is preferred) and a student with some research experience is preferred. The ideal student is one who is highly motivated, organized, and independent; works well with a collaborate team; interested/excited about agronomy and animal science; and is enjoyable to be around! If interested, please contact Dr. Krishona Martinson at

Buy hay the smart way! Many horse owners purchase hay by the bale. However, the more economical way to purchase and compare different hay types is to calculate the price per ton. The Hay Price Calculator app aids hay buyers in calculating price per ton and provides cost comparisons of small square, large round, and large square-bales. Hay buyers simply select the bale type, enter in the bale weight and price per bale, and the Hay Price Calculator app calculates price per ton, allowing the buyer to compare and choose the most economical hay. Hay buyers should also take into consideration hay quality when determining economics.

The app is available for use with Android and Apple products and costs $0.99. 

Most users who have previously paid for the app will need to go into their app store and re-download the app (there will be no charge). Due to the length of time the app was out of the store, an automatic update may not be possible. 

Reproductive management combines proven beef cattle management skills and practical economic principles to create the most economically efficient operation possible.

This information-packed workshop provides hands-on demonstrations to introduce the latest research and best practices for successful operations and healthy cattle. 

This workshop will be hosted Thursday, May 23, 2019 from 8:15 am – 5:00 pm. The location will be Rossman Farms in Oronoco, MN. It costs $35 to register, and you can register here by May 9th. A maximum of 40 people can participate.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more information contact Megan Webb, University of Minnesota Extension, beef production systems specialist at or 612-624-6789.

News and Announcements

Six Animal Science undergraduate students and coach Marcia Endres traveled to Tifton, GA, March 27, 2019 to participate in the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. Four of them – Jordan Agrimson, Lauren Hendel, Jake Siewert and Krista Styer – represented the U on the National Dairy Challenge Contest, and two of them – Rachel Coyne and Sierra Swanson – participated in the Dairy Challenge Academy.  The event offered a great opportunity for our students to put to use all they have learned about analyzing dairy farms and learn new things about this unique region for dairy.  Tifton, Georgia, was home base for the 2019 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge®, with eight area dairies participating in the educational event. Dairy students from 44 colleges worked to improve their dairy management and communication skills, networked with other students, and explored industry careers.

Dairy Challenge is a unique, real-world experience where dairy students work as a team and apply their college coursework to evaluate and provide solutions for an operating dairy farm. This year’s contest participants included 36 universities, whose four-person teams competed for awards based on the quality of the teams’ farm analysis and appropriate solutions. Their farm presentations were evaluated by a panel of five judges, including dairy producers, veterinarians, finance specialists and seasoned agribusiness personnel. Our national team represented the University of Minnesota well!

Left to right: Lauren Hendel, Jordan Agrimson, Jake Siewert, Krista Styer, and coach Marcia Endres

Left to right: Sierra Swanson, coach Marcia Endres, and Rachel Coyne

More than 100 faculty, students, and industry professionals attended this year’s ‘Connecting with U – Animal Science Showcase’, April 3 in the St. Paul campus Cargill building. Accomplishments by faculty, students, and alumni were celebrated during the program, highlighted by the presentation of the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Industry to Mr. John Goihl, and Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Academia to Dr. Tom Porter. Mr. Goihl received his bachelors and Master of Science degrees in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. John is perhaps best known for his “Bottom Line of Swine Nutrition” articles in Feedstuffs magazine. John has been a tireless and unselfish provider of exceptional service to his profession, the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

Dr. Tom Porter received his doctoral degree for the University of Minnesota. Tom is best known for his research in regulatory mechanisms for growth hormone production in broiler chickens. Tom has been recognized for teaching and mentoring excellence. He has received numerous awards from the University of Maryland. The symposium also featured numerous poster sessions about AS research and student organizations and connected participants to the program even down to the lunch, which featured foods catered by the Meat Science team.

The recipients of the 2019-20 MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Graduate Student Professional Development Program were announced in the middle of April. Department of Animal Science graduate students Mateus Peiter and Grace Dewi were selected to receive the honor.

Congratulations to these two!

During the past few weeks, Dr. Gerald Shurson spoke at the U.S. Soybean Export Council conferences in Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Miami. Dr. Shurson was invited to present on the “Implications of African Swine Fever on the North American Feed and Pork Industry”. All three of these conferences were well attended. The audiences consisted of major U.S. soybean and soybean meal importers, commodity traders, nutritionists, feed mill managers, swine and poultry integrators, and agricultural industry representatives.

On April 20th, the 9th Annual University of Minnesota Show Pig Sale was held at the St. Paul Campus Animal Arena. All pigs in the sale were born and raised by our Department of Animal Science Swine Teaching Unit. There were 34 head of January and February farrowed show pigs that sold for an average of $238.  The pigs were sold as project animals for Minnesota 4-H and FFA members looking for animals for summer county fairs. This sale helps support the Swine Teaching Unit.  Most of the pigs sold at the sale were from litters sired by boars from North Iowa Boar Stud (NIBS) out of Riceville IA. The Owen Family (NIBS Owners) support the UMN’s swine unit each breeding season by allowing the Swine barn to breed to their elite boars at a reduced rate. The sale pigs this year were mainly crossbreds; however, there will be a few purebred litters of Berkshires and Yorkshires.  

The Block and Bridle club along with members of the ANSC 3801 (Livestock Merchandising) were responsible for all facets of the pre and post-sale management including advertisement, arena set up, animal cataloging, clerking, and load out. Running this sale has given the students experience regarding the principles and activities involved in successfully promoting and merchandising livestock.  Assisting the students were Noah Carroll and Dan Hayes, student managers of the Swine Unit; Kyle Rozeboom, Swine Barn Faculty Supervisor and ANSC 3801 Instructor; and Tony Seykora, Block and Bridle Advisor.

The Block and Bridle/Gopher Poultry Science Club Recognition Banquet was held April 6, 2019 in the Northstar Ballroom in the St. Paul Student Center. Mike Schutz, Department Head of the Department of Animal Science, welcomed attendees and gave updates on departmental happenings.

Thom Peterson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, was the featured speaker and discussed challenges at the legislature relative to agriculture. 

Following are the recognitions of the evening:

The Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon team was recognized for their first place finish at the local AQ competition held in February.  Members from left to right were Jenni Fidler, Michael Carroll, and Matthias Annexstad.  Not pictured is Olivia Vande Hey.

Kyle Rozeboom presented the Outstanding Animal Science senior plaque to Alyssa Groskopf. 

The General Livestock Judging Team completed their judging competition with many top ten team and individual honors. Members of the team include Alyssa Groskopf, Dan Hayes, Mason Currie, Abby Penzenstadler, Brooke Roberts, Jennifer Fidler, Nicholas Pitlick, and Brady Bobendrier. The team was coached by Kyle Rozeboom.

The Outstanding Service award was presented to Dee Brothers – Evan and Graham. The Dee brothers have hosted the Block and Bridle Club numerous times at their farm where they breed nationally recognized show lambs. Their genetics have influenced the genetics of our sheep on campus. Evan Dee was present to accept the award.

The Outstanding Faculty/Staff award was presented to Dr. Melissa Palmer. Melissa teaches Orientation to Animal Science, Human and Animal Physiology, biotechnology courses, and leads a study abroad course to Belize.

John Carroll and Kyle Rozeboom presented Jim Merritt with the Outstanding Alumni Award. Jim Merritt was a Block and Bridle member and a member of the U of MN Livestock judging team in 1964.  Jim has been very influential in the growth of the swine industry in the Midwest, served on the Minnesota Pork Board, and has always been a great supporter of the University.

Vanessa Roberts and Laura Church shared the outstanding B & B Rookie Award for outstanding contributions to the club. 

Jenni Fidler received the plaque for Outstanding Block and Bridle Senior.  Jenni has been a member of the B & B executive committee, chaired several committees, and attended four National Block and Bridle Conventions. 

Gopher Poultry Science Club (GPSC) awards were presented during the Block and Bridle Annual Banquet. Dr. Anup Johny, Co-Advisor for GPSC, announced the awards and Dr. Mike Schutz, the Department Head, presented the awards. Mr. Eli Braun, the outgoing President of GPSC won the 2019 outstanding member award and Claire Peichel, the Treasurer of GPSC won the 2018-19 outstanding volunteer award. CAPTION: From the left to right: Dr. Johny, Claire Peichel, Eli Braun, and Dr. Schutz.

Special thanks to Cargill, Inc. and Dr. Brian Knudson, Cargill Enterprise Strategy Leader, for sponsoring of our banquet and awards program.

Members of AQ Team (left to right): Jenni Fidler, Michael Carroll, and Matthias Annexstad. Not pictured is Olivia Vande Hey.

Alyssa Groskopf, Outstanding Animal Science Senior recipient, with Professor Kyle Rozeboom.

Outstanding Service Award Recipient - Dee Brothers. Pictured is Evan Dee

Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award Recipient - Melissa Palmer

John Carroll (right) and Kyle Rozeboom (left) presented Jim Merritt with the Outstanding Alumni Award.

Outstanding Block and Bridle Rookie Award Recipients - Vanessa Roberts (left) and Laura Church (right)

Outstanding Block and Bridle Senior Recipient - Jenni Fidler

GPSC Outstanding Member Award Recipient - Eli Braun; and Outstanding Volunteer Award Recipient - Claire Peichel pictured with Dr. Anup Johny and Department Head, Mike Schutz.


Congratulations to our Administrative Coordinator Kyrié Douglass and her husband Joe Douglass on the birth of their daughter Frances Wilder Douglass! Frances was born on April 6, 2019. The family is doing well and enjoying their new addition! 

Calendar of Events

May 1 – SowBridge program – “Timing of Iron Injections”

May 15 – PQA+ & TQA, Hutchinson, MN

May 23 – Cattle Reproduction Management Workshop, Oronoco, MN

June 12 - PQA+ & TQA, Mankato, MN

July 10-11 – Midwest Farm Energy Conference, Morris, MN