AnSci Connection - Dec 2016

Notes from the Department Head

It’s December and it is a busy time for students and faculty as classes are ending and final exams are coming up.

We are conducting a search for a tenure-track Assistant Professor with research and teaching responsibilities involving the microbiome of food animals. The successful candidate will develop a nationally and internationally recognized research program related to understanding how microbial communities impact animal health and production. The research topics associated with this goal include nutrient and fiber metabolism, prebiotic and probiotic effects, antibiotic growth-promoters, immune responses, and manure production – all of which have the potential to affect production practices, nutrition, environment, disease management, well-being, and/or product quality and safety. This position will involve research collaborations in the Food Centric Corridor, which is an interdisciplinary initiative among College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) faculty focused on improving food animal productivity. We believe this individual will be a valuable addition to the research capability of our department.

Our dairy cattle judging team continued its record of success this fall. The team placed 1st overall in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest (during World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI) once again this year after doing so last year. A repeat victory in the national contest by a university has happened only 11 times in history since the contest began 100 years ago. Furthermore, across the "Big 3" collegiate dairy judging contests held annually (Harrisburg, PA; Louisville, PA; Madison, WI), our dairy judging team has placed 1st overall in 11 of the 21 contests held over the past 7 years. The students who represented the University of Minnesota so well in the Harrisburg, Louisville, and Madison contests this fall were Dane Thompson, Turtle Lake, WI; Crystal Siemers-Peterman, Cleveland, WI; Ethan Dado, Amery, WI; Gabriella Sorg, Hastings, MN; Laura Jensen, Comstock, WI; and Austin Schmitt, Rice, MN. We are very proud of them, and we are appreciative of the effort of the coaches who worked with them: Dr. Les Hansen, alumni Scott Ellinghuysen, Altura, MN, and Alicia Thurk, Browerville, MN, as well as current graduate student Eric Houdek. The students and coaches visited 32 dairy farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa to prepare for the contests, and those dairy producers are critically important to the success of the program. Kudos to those dairy producers, too!

I would like to wish you all a great New Year and Holiday Season and to thank all of you for the support you provide the Department

All the best in the New Year!

Dr. William R. Dayton

Department Head

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

Dr. Jerry Shurson was invited to travel to Cuba to meet with researchers and administrators at the Instituto de Ciencia Animal (ICA; Animal Science Institute) in San Jose de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba in November. The purpose of the visit was to explore potential research collaborations and technical information exchange programs to improve the long-term sustainability of food animal production in Cuba. Before the revolution in 1959, agriculture was the main economic engine of Cuba’s economy and heavily influenced by the U.S. economy. After the revolution, the Soviet Union heavily subsidized Cuba’s sugar and citrus industries, while providing about two-thirds of its food imports and most of its crude oil, until it collapsed in 1991. Since then, agriculture has contributed less than 10% to the GDP and Cuba imports about 70 to 80% of all food consumed from other countries in Latin America. The lack of access to state-of-the-art agriculture technology, the government focus on supporting small inefficient farms, and the limited impact of Cuban agriculture research has led to serious food security issues. With improving government relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and the recent death of Fidel Castro, animal science researchers at ICA are eager to establish long-term collaborative relationships with selected Land Grant Universities in the U.S. (i.e. University of Minnesota) that excel in research and education in the field of animal science. Their goal is to improve animal productivity and become more self-sufficient and less reliant on food imports. It was a successful visit and a memorandum of understanding is being finalized to facilitate information exchange and research collaboration between our Department of Animal Science and ICA.   


The Biosecure Entry Education Trailer (BEET) Unit is complete and ready for educational programming.  Made possible through Rapid Agricultural Response funds, the BEET unit will be used to teach concepts and adaptations of Danish Entry protocols for biosecurity.  The trailer can be used by managers and decision makers to assess and practice biosecurity protocols for their business and for employees to practice and understand company protocols.  The BEET unit will be at several upcoming, large scale events including MN Pork Congress, Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, FFA Ag Bowl Scholarship Invitational hosted by SMSU, and hopefully, FarmFest in August.  You can learn more about Danish Entry and the BEET unit by visiting:


The University of Minnesota Extension will be offering multiple seminars this winter. Below are the seminar topics and information on registration.

Women In Dairy
January 19th , 2017
Crow River Winery & Vineyard
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Featuring Alise Sjostrom, Redhead Creamery
Alise, also known as "Cheese Alise" since she was 17, took on a passion for cheese making early in life. Now, she's two years into her full-time life as an on-farm cheese maker working hand-in-hand with family. Join her session for a cheese-focused tasting and learning about what it is like having your name and face on the brand you sell.

Featuring Betty Berning, Extension Educator, Ag Business Mgmt
Betty grew up on a dairy farm in Central MN and since then has worked in ag lending in a community bank and a commodity analyst and senior buyer for General Mills. Her broad background in the dairy supply chain provides a unique perspective not only in dairy economics but also in employee management.

Selective Dry Cow Therapy - We Can Do This!
February 16th, 2017
Glencoe City Center
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Featuring Erin Royster, DVM, MS
Selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is an approach whereby antimicrobial treatment at the end of lactation is based on assessment of the infection stats of the cow or quarter. The use of accurate on-farm diagnostic tests to identify infected cows or quarters and teat sealants to protect non-treated quarters against new infections are important components in successful SDCT programs. This presentation will discuss the potential advantages, risks, and logistics of adopting a
SDCT program.

Reduced Lignin Alfalfa
March 16th, 2017
Sibley County Service Center
12:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Featuring M. Scott Wells, University of MN Extension, Extension Agronomist, Forage/ Cropping Systems
This presentation will offer data on yield and quality of reduced lignin alfalfa across various varieties under intensive cutting management. Find out more information on economics and ration balancing utilizing this research.

To learn more, go here:

For registration and contact information please call 320-484-4334 or one of the following contacts below.

Alison Rickeman, Minnesota Dairy Initiative - SouthCentral Region, Coordinatior (952-466-5322 or
Karen Johnson, Extension Educator, McLeod & Meeker Counties (320-484-4303 or
Jason Ertl, Extension Educator, Sibley & Nicollet Counties (651-324-9121 or

The University of Minnesota Extension Horse Team will be offering two online certificate courses starting in January 2017. The first course focuses on pasture establishment and management, while the second course focuses on growing and feeding horse hay. Although species recommendations will focus on the Upper Midwest, most information can be applied across the U.S.
Both courses are semi self-paced and are six weeks in duration. To earn a certificate, participants must earn ≥70% on three 10-point multiple choice quizzes and participate in three online discussions per course. The course is recommended for adult learners, but is open to everyone. The course will not result in college credit. The cost for each course is $75 and registration is required by January 8, 2017.

Registration is available at:

Online Horse Pasture Establishment & Management Certification Course

Growing & Feeding Horse Hay Online Certification Course

News and Announcements

The Department of Animal Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota is proud to announce a call for nominations for the first annual Golden Alumni Award. The award is intended to recognize and honor an outstanding alumna or alumnus of the Department of Animal Science. The award will be presented during the Department’s annual showcase which highlights the work of our faculty, students, and alumni.

Nominations are invited based on the following:
• One recipient will be chosen annually in February and invited to participate in the Department of Animal Science Showcase event in April. The award includes travel to campus and related expenses.
• Nominees must have received a baccalaureate or graduate degrees from the Department of Animal Science.
• Current staff or faculty in the department or sitting Regents, are not eligible for this award.
• Nominees are chosen based on their demonstrated distinction in their professional lives, recognition for outstanding contributions to animal agriculture and exceptional service to or volunteer activities in their field.

Nominations consist of a letter highlighting the nominee’s accomplishments, a current resume, and two letters of support. Only one nomination from the same source will be accepted in any given year.

Nominations will be accepted at any time, but must be received by February 15th, 2017 to be considered for the current year’s award. The award will be presented at a departmental event on Tuesday, April 11th , 2017

Nominations not previously selected will be held for two years. The recipient will be selected by the Communications Committee of the Department of Animal Science.

Nominations should be sent to:
(Please send PDF via email or USPS)

Allison Berth
UMN Department of Animal Science
1364 Eckles Avenue, 305 Haecker Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108

Rachel Clevenger previously worked as a grant administrator in UMN Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and most recently in the Department of Medicine as a grant coordinator. While at SPA she occasionally supported CFANS and always enjoyed working with our faculty and staff, so she was excited about the opportunity to join the CFANS Finance team. She and her husband have a young son who fills most of their free time with toddler-related activities. When she finds “grown-up” time she enjoys reading mystery novels, seeing live music and jogging outdoors.

Liz is joining the CFANS Finance team as a Principal Accounts Specialist where she will be processing expense reports, PCards, requisitions, etc. She came from the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate where she worked in the main office over the summer. Prior to that she attended the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Aveda Institute Minneapolis. She is very excited to continue her career here at the U of M and on the CFANS team!

Liz was born and raised in White Bear Lake, MN where she still currently resides. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family on the lake up north, doing various DIY craft projects, playing volleyball, and hanging out with all of the pups in her family. She loves to see new places and would love to travel the world some day!

The Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA) is pleased to announce that they will be awarding up to two educational scholarships of $1000 each to post-secondary students pursuing a degree in Animal Science with dairy production emphasis, Dairy Science, Food Animal Veterinary Medicine, Dairy Manufacturing, Dairy Technology or Dairy Food Science. (Other degree programs may be considered if there is strong evidence of commitment and contribution to the dairy industry.)
Attached, please find the application form for the scholarship. Note that all scholarship applications must be submitted electronically by January 31, 2017. The application form is also be available online:

Graduate Student Spotlights

Leonard Fung is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in animal science with an emphasis on swine nutrition. He is advised by Dr. Gerald Shurson and Dr. Pedro Urriola. His research focuses on the potential of food waste feeding in swine programs with the aim of recycling food waste and minimizing its environmental impact.

Leonard was born and raised in Hong Kong, China and came to the US for University five years ago. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota and during his undergraduate years, he worked at Dr. Shurson’s laboratory as an undergraduate research assistant and that was where his interest in animal nutrition research began.

In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, cooking and visiting different countries.

Nicole Kenney Rambo is pursuing a PhD in Animal Science with an emphasis in Feedlot Nutrition with Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo. As part of her PhD program, Nicole has completed research on the impact of feedlot facility design on manure nutrient concentration and investigated the nutrient requirements of heavy weight cattle at the end of the finishing period. Her research program has been driven by needs identified through work with Minnesota feedlot operators in her role as an Extension Educator. Nicole joined the University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team in 2013 as the Feedlot Extension Educator and is based at the Mid Central Research and Outreach Center in Willmar, MN. Nicole completed her undergraduate work in Animal Science at Texas A&M University and has an M.S. in Beef Cattle Nutrition from the University of Kentucky. In her role with the Beef Team, Nicole develops research-based educational programming in a variety of media formats and participates in applied feedlot research. Nicole has led the Beef Team’s efforts in incorporating online and social media platforms to support the traditional Flagship Beef Extension programs and enhance learning opportunities for Minnesota stakeholders. 


Congratulations to our winners of the Winterfest awards! Below are the awards and their recipients!

Leadership Award - Marshall Stern (Not pictured)

Commendable Committee Award - Graduate Studies Committee This committee consists of Marshall Stern as chair, Allison Berth, Chris Faulk, Kota Minegishi, Milena Saqui-Salces, Brittany Shonka-Martin, Mickie Trudeau, and Pedro Urriola. (Not pictured)

Positive Impact Award - Tia Colwell

Above and Beyond Award - Marta Ferrandis Vila


Congratulations to Mike Donnelly (MS) for passing his final defense. Mike was advised by Drs. Les Hansen and Bradley Heins.


Congratulations to Kathryn Ruh (MS) for passing her final defense. Kathryn was advised by Dr. Bradley Heins


Congratulations to faculty member Marshall Stern and his wife Elana on closing on their house in Florida!

Congratulations to faculty member Sam Baidoo on the birth of his third grandchild!


Congratulations to staff member Allison Berth on her recent engagement to her partner Ryan!

Calendar of Events

December 1, 2016 - PorkBridge program - "Ventilation Needs for Winter"

December 7, 2016 - SowBridge program - "Proper Room Temperature & Supplemental Heat Use"

December 14, 2016 - PQA Plus/TQA certification, Mankato, MN

January 4, 2017 - SowBridge program - "Achievement & Management of 30+ PSY Sows"

January, 17-18, 2017 - MN Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN

April 11-14, 2017 MN Dairy Health Conference 

May 30-June 1, 2017 - 32nd ADSA Discover Conference on Food Animal Agriculture: Dairy Replacement Heifers - Transitioning from Weaning through First Lactation, Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Itasca, IL