AnSci Connection - December 2017

Notes from the Department Head

I am planning to retire as department head effective January 5. A search for a new department head is ongoing and several well qualified candidates have been identified and interviews will be conducted in December. I have enjoyed my tenure as department head and I am very grateful for the support of faculty, staff, and stakeholders. In light of the successes of senior faculty and the acquisition of several outstanding new faculty members, I believe the department is on a very good trajectory for the future.

I would like to wish all of you a great New Year and Holiday Season and to thank you for your support of the department and of me as department head.


Dr. William R. Dayton
Department Head

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

The University of Minnesota Extension Horse Program is offering three six-week, semi self-paced, online certificate courses starting in January 2018. Courses and all related actives are held completely online. The courses are:

· Basic Horse Nutrition
· Growing and Feeding Horse Hay
· Horse Pasture Establishment and Management

The basic horse nutrition course will focus on developing an understanding of how the anatomy and physiology of the horse's gastrointestinal (GI) tract interacts with the use of feedstuffs and the horse's nutritional requirements. Topics will include the horse GI tract, feeding behavior, key nutrients, types of feedstuffs, reading a feed tag, and feeding young, adult, aged, performance and diseased horses. To register for this course, click here.

The growing and feeding horse hay course will focus on feeding and managing horse hay in the upper Midwest. Topics include hay field establishment and management, harvesting and storing high quality hay, submitting and interpreting an equine hay analysis, tips on buying and selling hay, hay options for diseased horses, and hay feeding and estimating hay needs. To register for this course, click here.

The horse pasture establishment and management course will focus on establishing and managing pastures in the upper Midwest. Topics will include pasture layout and design, pasture establishment, pasture management, estimating pasture intake, managing diseased horses on pasture, and pasture resources and research update. To register for this course, click here.

All courses start the week of January 8 and end the week of February 12. The cost for each course is $75 and online registration is required by 11:59 p.m. on January 7. To earn a certificate in each course, participants must earn ≥70% on three 10-point multiple choice quizzes and participate in three course discussions. If a certificate is not wanted, participants do not have to complete quizzes or course discussions. Courses are recommended for adult learners (but are open to everyone) and will not result in college credit.

For more information, contact Krishona Martinson at or 612-625-6776.

This fall ANSC 1011: Animals and Society was revamped by Dr. Beth Ventura this semester. One of the biggest changes with the course is that it now offered online. In addition to bringing the course online, Beth diversified it to consider livestock as well as other animals. These two changes in the course allows for students throughout the university to take the course and learn about animal science and human-animal interactions. The course provides real-world examples and challenges students to go outside of their comfort zone with specific assignments and activities.

The revamped course implements new technologies that keeps students engaged and connected with the material. Lectures for the course were recorded in front of a green screen that allows Beth to be in the video while presenting her slides for the lecture. “I wanted to include more ‘me’ in the course and replicate a physical class. I wanted to bring lessons alive” Beth shared. Beth received an E Learning grant through CFANS to create the course, and collaborated closely with Academic Technologist Tracy Wilson to build the course’s Moodle site and online course materials.
The tools implemented in the online format have been well received by students. Julia Schroeck, a student shared, “I like the lecture structure because it is easy to watch and follow. Everything has a specific due date and the course is easy to navigate.” Katie Raeker, a teaching assistant for the course, had great things to say about working with Beth. “Beth is wonderful. She works with students if they have an issue and answers their questions. She lets me make activities, involves me in the course, and helps me when I need it.”

Objectives for this class are to have a broad understanding of the diverse human-animal interaction scope, to engage with a range of views and perspectives in society that exist around animals, and teach students to have an appreciation for diversity. The most important objective for this course, in Beth’s opinion, is that students have fun.

The Livestock Extension Team has been doing some fantastic things regarding impactful programming! After a multiple-year hiatus, the "Swine and U" column is back in The Land magazine (the column was previously called “Pork Professor”). The Swine and U column addresses to-the-moment swine health and management topics for producers. The first column ran in June 2017 and the column will continue through 2018. The Land reaches 65,000 readers in two published editions and in an online component.

Diane DeWitte coordinates the column.

News and Announcements

The Department of Animal Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota is excited to again call for nominations for the Golden Alumni Award. The award recognizes and honors 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 and students.

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 degree 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.

· This award is meant to recognize alumni in industry and/or academia, and is inclusive of all types of degree(s) earned.

Nominations consist of a letter highlighting the nominee’s accomplishments, a current resume, and two letters of support.

Nominations will be accepted at any time, but must be received by Tuesday, January 16th to be considered for the current year’s award. The award will be presented at the Department of Animal Science Showcase in April.

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

On Wednesday November 22, Dr. Jerry Shurson was interviewed by President Kaler on the Mid-Day Farm Review with Linder Farm Network. President Kaler was featured as the “Farm Broadcaster for a Day,” and he highlighted the ways University researchers are keeping Minnesotans' Thanksgiving dinners safe, healthy, and sustainable. Jerry shared how researchers, specifically in the Department of Animal Science and in CFANS, are increasing and sustaining food production in Minnesota and around the world. He cites a key part of advancement in food production is collaboration to help make the connections between research and the application of those discoveries into everyday practices.

Follow the link below to learn more and listen to the interview:

Drs. Jerry Shurson and Pedro Urriola hosted an Ecuadorian team for a short course in November. Jerry and Pedro summarized recent research results showing that DDGS is an economical source of energy, digestible amino acids, and phosphorus in swine and poultry diets, and that it can be used at relatively high diet inclusion rates to provide excellent animal performance as well as meat and egg quality. Attendees of the short course were very appreciative of the information they received and indicated that the information would be very useful for their work in Ecuador.

The U.S. Grains Council established this short course program and collaboration to provide information to help the feed, livestock, and poultry industries in Ecuador use an economical, abundant feed ingredient in precision animal feeding programs to improve food security. CHS is a leading exporter of DDGS and was essential in providing this face-to-face contact with the Ecuadorian team.

Jerry has been invited to Ecuador to meet with government officials to prevent import restrictions of DDGS in the future, a truly exciting opportunity.


Positions for both Undergraduate Farm Animal Assistant(s) and a Student Lab Attendant in Animal Science in a Nutritional Physiology Lab that focuses on dairy cattle are available for undergraduate students in Animal Science. Information on the positions can be found below.

Position Title: Undergraduate Farm Animal Assistant - Dairy Barn
Duties: This position is at the St. Paul campus dairy barn. The individual(s) hired will have the opportunity to assist with multiple aspects of providing animal care to lactating dairy cows and their calves. Specific duties will be variable and will depend upon animal and barn needs and student interest and experience. These duties could include animal handling (moving, etc.), milking, feeding, cleaning, etc.
Starting Date: 9/5 or soon thereafter
Pay Range: $9.75 minimum
Hours: Flexible depending upon availability and barn needs. Barn activities occur primarily between 4
AM and 8 PM every day and could include evenings when cows are calving. There are multiple work shifts (or portions of shifts) that are available to student hires.
Desired Qualifications:Prefer individuals with dairy cattle experience and qualified for work study.
Contact Person/Email/Telephone:
Saige Sulzberger
Barn: 612-624- 3062

Position Title: Student Lab Attendant - in Animal Science in a Nutritional Physiology Lab that focuses on dairy cattle
Duties: This position is in a nutritional/metabolic physiology lab in the Department of Animal Science that focuses on dairy cows in early lactation. The individual hired will assist with collection and processing of biological samples (blood, Urine, feed, etc.), routine lab work including cleaning glassware, data entry preparation of samples for analysis, and standard analyses of feed and biological samples. Opportunities exist to conduct additional analyses and for independent studies (UROP, etc.). We need someone who is available for 3 to 4 h on Tuesdays. Other work hours can be more flexible but blocks of 3 to 4 h intervals are generally required to complete sample analysis. Some weekend work is required, especially when collecting biological samples from cows.
Starting Date: 9/5 or soon thereafter
Pay Range: $10.00
Hours: 10 to 12 hr per week depending on individual
Desired Qualifications:We seek a work-study student with an organized approach and the ability to focus and to pay attention to details. We will train the individual for specific techniques but a strong interest in research is desirable. Experience working with large animals, preferably cattle, is required.
Contact Person/Email/Telephone:
Wanda Weber
Lab: 612-624- 5348
Cell: 651-261- 9361

The Leatherdale Equine Center celebrated its 10th anniversary this fall! To help celebrate, two, one-day workshops for horse owners were hosted at the facility. Animal Science faculty and graduate students coordinated the events with additional presenters from Extension and College of Veterinary Medicine faculty. On October 21st, 60 adult horse owners chose from eight breakout topics including: equine ulcers, basics of winter horse care, biosecurity, yoga for horses, Myth-busters: forage edition, first aid, assessing horse body condition, and caring for elderly horses. Owners from 12 Minnesota counties, Wisconsin, and Iowa attended the program. They enjoyed a day full of hands-on learning, comradery and access to experts that helped answer their questions.

An event designed specifically for youth in grades 6 – 12 was held on November 4. Young equestrians from five Minnesota counties and Wisconsin were presented similar topics geared towards a youth audience. The most fun part of the day was the horseless horse show during the lunch break. Each participant had the opportunity to compete in barrels or navigate a jumping course. Prizes for the fastest time by event and grade were awarded, thanks to the generosity of Purina Feeds and Rachel Mottet (AnSci PhD student).

Session presenters included AnSci Faculty Dr. Krishona Martinson and Dr. Marcia Hathaway; AnSci Graduate Students Devan Catalano, Michelle DeBoer, Amanda Grev, and Amanda Reiter; Vet Med Faculty Dr. Alex Bianco, Dr. Lauren Hughes and Dr. Christie Ward; and U of M Extension faculty Abby Neu. Special assistance was provided by undergraduate interns Kirsten Firth, Hannah Lochner and Mike Miller and Dr. Martinson’s daughters Matalyn and Montana and their patient horses, Daisy and Holly.

It’s that time of year again where scholarships are awarded to many deserving students across the country. This month we are highlighting the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, which is offering two Gene Watnaas Scholarships for $1,000 each.

The Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association is a non-profit group that serves to promote the dairy industry by educating people, providing educational services, networks, and contests to encourage the improvement of the quality and safety within the dairy industry.
Think that you might qualify for this scholarship? Go here to apply today!

Graduate Student Spotlights

Zhaohui (Edward) Yang is pursuing a M.S. degree in Animal Science, working under Drs. Gerald Shurson and Pedro Urriola. His research is focused around determining the feeding values, benefits, and limitations of novel high-protein distiller’s grains in swine diets.

Edward is originally from Guangzhou, China. He received his B.S. in Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 and joined the swine nutrition group immediately after graduation. In these past years, he got involved with World Pork Expo, World Dairy Expo, and Leman Conference several times to help sharing information of the U.S. agriculture industry with international visitors. Edward loves working with people with diverse backgrounds, and would like to work for an international company or organization in the field of swine nutrition. In his free time, Edward enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and playing board games. He adopted a sweet kitty named “Jolin” last year, and playing with Jolin is now his new hobby.

Calendar of Events

Jan. 16 -17Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center

Feb. 15 -  UMN Extension Woman in Ag Network Annual Conference, St. Cloud, MN

Mar. 12 -14 - North Central Avian Disease Conference, Minneapolis Convention Center

Mar. 13 -15Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, Minneapolis Convention Center