AnSci Connection - February 2018

Notes from the Department Head

Earlier this month I was honored to attend and present at the Women in Ag Network Conference in St. Cloud, MN.  I was asked to share my experiences related to using social media to educate livestock owners and professionals.  In the audience were numerous individuals who were also using social media to educate, advocate, and advertise on behalf of their employer, farm, or Ag business.  Although some may have a love-hate relationship with social media, it is certainly a convenient way to reach diverse and large audiences.  In our department, several of our faculty, staff, and students successfully manage social media accounts tied to research and Extension teams, judging teams, courses, and student organizations.  There is even a Facebook page dedicated to students who admire one of our beloved teaching faculty. These accounts highlight current research, Extension programming, teaching efforts, successes, upcoming events, throwback photos, and even trivia!  I would encourage everyone to “like”, “subscribe” and “follow” departmental social media accounts that relate to your personal and professional interests.  A good place to start is to “like” our Departmental Facebook page


I also recently attended a unique event new to Minnesota to cheer on two of our fantastic graduate students.  These students competed in the “Extreme Events Skijoring” at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN.  Our department is home to almost 50 graduate students working hard on numerous research projects and they also contribute significantly to our teaching efforts.  It is common to hear our students present their research at conferences throughout the U.S and Extension and industry programs around Minnesota.  Our students also enjoy networking and socializing, and I hope many of our industry colleagues, stakeholders, and alumni are able to connect with them in 2018.                   

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

The University of Minnesota will be hosting the 2018 Minnesota Dairy Health Conference from April 18-19, 2018. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the latest research developed from experts in the field. The theme is Achieving the Win-Win: Identifying Opportunities to Enhance Value to Your Clients.

There are four preconferences to choose from when registering: Using Data for Decision Making in Cattle Practice, What’s App Doc?, Stockmanship Training, and Field Necropsy.

The conference will be held in the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul Campus. Registration information can be found at this link: 

News and Announcements

On January 17th, graduate students and professors in the swine nutrition group hosted Mr. Matt Wolfe (pork consultant) and Dr. Erin Harris (swine nutritionist) from Cargill – Provimi. During this interactive meeting, Matt and Erin briefly explained their roles in their team and presented real-world examples to describe their daily work. Matt has personal experience in business and explained how that helps him utilize various tools to add value to his customers’ businesses. Erin brought ingredient samples to show how an emergency situation in a large feed mill was solved in a short time. Graduate students enjoyed their talks and gained new understanding of what careers they can pursue with their education. In addition, Matt and Erin also gave advice to current students and encouraged them to enhance personal and business skills for their future careers. Students appreciated this opportunity to connect with professionals in the field and look forward to future communication with them. 


During its monthly meeting on February 16, the Gopher Dairy Club elected its executive team of officers for 2018-19. The officers are:

President -- Krista Styer, Menomonie, WI
Vice President -- Brooke Roberts, Whitelaw, WI
Secretary -- Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN
Treasurer -- Mike Slater, Chisago City, MN
Reporter -- Morgan Krause, Buffalo, MN
Officer-at-Large -- Haely Leiding, Fountain, MN

2018-19 executive team of officers of the Gopher Dairy Club (l to r): Reporter Morgan Krause, Officer-at-Large Haely Leiding, Secretary Lauren Hendel, Treasurer Mike Slater, President Krista Styer, and Vice President Brooke Roberts.

Registration is now open for the 3rd Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium, scheduled for May 31 and June 1, 2018 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Dairy Cattle Welfare Council (DCWC) is hosting the event. The goal of the DCWC is to “bring together dairy farmers, veterinarians, consultants, universities, and the dairy community to develop best recommended practices for dairy cattle welfare with focus on animal well-being, management, husbandry, animal-human interaction, health, and productivity”. Dr. Marcia Endres currently serves as the DCWC Vice-President and also is an active member of the 2018 Symposium’s planning committee.

The first keynote speaker will be Dr. Carl Safina discussing “animal emotions, feelings and social interaction needs”. Other speakers will include Mandi McLeod, Janet Helms, David Kelton, Jack Rodenburg, Conrad Spangler, Charlotte Winder, Geoffrey Dahl, Robert Hagevoort, Cassandra Tucker, Mike McCloskey, and Nina Von Keyserlingk. The program will also include short oral presentations on dairy welfare-related research by six graduate students from universities across the country.

New this year is the inclusion of a Spanish-Speaking session targeted towards farm managers and key employees. This session will be held during the afternoon of the first day, May 31st. The goal for this Spanish-speaking session is to teach the basics of animal welfare, why it is important on the dairy, and how to train other employees. Participants can register to attend only this session for $75 a person or $200 for four people from the same farm.

Cost of registration for the full program is $200 until April 30th and $250 afterwards. Student registration is $75 and is limited to 30 people. The two-day program will offer 13 hours of continuing education credits for veterinarians and also for ARPAS.

The full conference schedule, other details and online registration are available on the symposium’s website at

Sponsors of the event include Platinum sponsors Zoetis and Merck Animal Health, along with Aurora Organic Dairy, Boehringer Ingelheim, Diamond V, Elanco, The FARM Program, IceRobotics, Lely, Novus, Organic Valley, SCR by Allflex, Select Sires, and Validus.

An enthusiastic delegation of Gopher Dairy Club members hosted and participated in the Midwest regional meeting of dairy science clubs (ADSA-SAD)

Following a year-long period of planning, the Gopher Dairy Club very successfully hosted the Midwest regional meeting of collegiate dairy science clubs (ADSA-SAD) on the weekend of January 26-28, 2018. Meeting headquarters was the DoubleTree Minneapolis Park Place. A total of 420 student members of dairy science clubs participated from 12 universities -- University of Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan State, NDSU, Ohio State, Purdue, SDSU, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, and UW-River Falls ,and the University of Minnesota. Co-chairs for planning of the weekend meeting were CFANS juniors Brooke Roberts and Alexis Giangrande.

An opening program on Friday evening included a welcome by CFANS Associate Dean Greg Cuomo, greetings from national ADSA President Karen Schmidt from Kansas State, and an inspiring presentation by Gopher Dairy Club alumnus Sara Schmidt, who is Vice President of Public Affairs for AMPI. A business meeting followed that was led by Regional President Gabriella Sorg from the University of Minnesota. Entertainment by a hypnotist and a dance with a DJ rounded out the evening. 

Saturday's activities included workshops in classrooms on the St. Paul campus that began at 9 a.m. Six educational workshops were led by the following Gopher Dairy Club alumni.

Dan Carroll, ST Genetics
Pat & Sharlene Daninger, dairy producers with on-farm milk bottling 
Sadie Frericks, dairy producer and Dairy Star contributor
Lucas Sjostrom, Minnesota Milk Producers Association
Barry Visser, Vita Plus Nutrition

The sixth workshop was conducted by Dr. Sandra Godden from the U's College of Veterinary Medicine.

A formal banquet and program were held on Saturday evening followed by a dance with a live band. The featured speaker was Dan Carroll, ST Genetics, who is a former member of the Gopher Dairy Club. Awards were presented for the dairy bowl contest, skillathon contest, most students attending from a university, and most miles traveled by a university. The University of Minnesota received the awards for 1st place yearbook and 1st place website. Also, the 2018-19 Midwest regional officers were announced, and Brooke Roberts from the University of Minnesota is the new Midwest President. The 2019 regional meeting will be hosted by NDSU in Fargo.


Co-chairs for planning of the 2018 Midwest regional meeting were CFANS juniors Alexis Giangrande (left) and Brooke Roberts (right)


Speaking during the banquet program were 2017-18 Midwest President Gabriella Sorg (seated) and 2018-19 Midwest President Brooke Roberts (standing), who are both CFANS students from the University of Minnesota


Precision livestock production is defined as optimizing agricultural inputs to produce desired outputs in the livestock industry. Precision livestock production encompasses multiple disciplines, including nutrition, genetics, reproductive physiology, agricultural engineering, meat science, food safety, and immunology.

This two-year program will train individuals in cutting-edge research skills and prepare students for a career in precision livestock production. In the first-year, students will be paired with two faculty co-mentors and assist these co-mentors with their research and development projects. In the second year, trainees will be paired for 10 weeks with a company or government agency working to serve the livestock industry.


1. Current Freshman or Sophomore student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at time application is submitted, AND

2. Member of an ethnic minority group OR eligible for a FAFSA Pell Grant in 2017-18 or 2018-19.

Funding for housing, living, and travel expenses is provided as part of this program.

How do I apply? Please visit this website: sciences/animal-science/summer-training- program-precision- livestock to find application materials.


QUESTIONS? Please contact Dr. Michael Gonda, Associate Professor of Animal Science,

South Dakota State University at 605-688- 5442 or

At their 122nd annual banquet on March 22, 2018, the Minnesota Livestock Breeders’ Association (MLBA) will honor Mike Kruger, former CEO of Midwest Dairy Association, Les and Jo Olson, Brown Swiss breeders from Spring Valley, MN, and Leland Thiesen, a Columbia sheep breeder from Windom, MN. The honorees will be inducted into the Livestock Hall of Fame in Haecker Hall where their photos will be displayed.

 The annual banquet will be held at noon in the North Star Ballroom on the U of M St. Paul Campus. The Board of Directors will hold their business meeting in Haecker Hall prior to the banquet.

 The cost to attend the banquet is $25 per person.  Pre-registration is requested by March 7th.  Please RSVP to Steve Pooch, MLBA Secretary-Treasurer, at 651-323-4210.

Each year the MAMP offers two $500 scholarships to honor the life of Pete Nelson, a past supervisor of the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science from 2007 to 2013. The scholarship is awarded to students that are currently enrolled as either an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Animal Science or the Department of Food Science and Nutrition.

Applicants must provide a copy of their University of Minnesota student transcript (unofficial copies are accepted). In addition, an essay must be submitted (1,000 words or less) discussing their education and academic activity, their professional goals, and their future role in the meat and/or food industry. The application and all necessary information must be received electronically by e-mail ( no later than 11:59 pm on March 12, 2018. Award recipients will be notified of the award decision no later than March 19, 2018.

The recipients will be announced at the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors Annual Convention as part of the awards banquet.

Graduate Student Spotlights

Mateus Peiter grew up in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil and went to Federal University of Santa Maria where he earned his degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2016. Even before graduation, Mateus came to the University of Minnesota as an intern and later on decided to stay for a Master’s in the Department of Animal Science where he currently works with dairy, more specifically health and behavior of dairy calves with Dr. Marcia Endres. Mateus expects to graduate in the Fall of 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys spending as much time as he can with his girlfriend and friends.


Congratulations to Divek Nair (PhD) on passing his final exam! Divek was advised by Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny.

Congratulation to Glenda Pereira (MS) on passing her final exam! Glenda was advised by Drs. Brad Heins and Marcia Endres.

Calendar of Events

March 7 - Sowbridge Program (National Pork Board), MN

March 7 - PQA Plus & TQA, Marshall, MN

March 12 – 13 - North Central Avian Disease Conference, Minneapolis Convention Center, MN

March 13 – 15 - Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, Minneapolis Convention Center, MN

March 20 - PQA Plus & TQA, Morris, MN

April 18-19- Minnesota Dairy Health Conference, St. Paul, MN 

April 27-29- Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State Fair Grounds