AnSci Connection - February 2019

Notes from the Department Head

When I wrote last month’s newsletter article, I wrote, “As I look out my window today, the sun is shining on the new fallen snow and makes for a beautiful winter scene.  The weather forecast calls for bitterly cold temperatures with lows nearing 30 degrees below zero and highs for the next several days well below zero.”  After the polar vortex the first days of this month and a record 30 inches of snowfall already in February, my tone may have become a bit less cheery.   I have never seen anything like it in February.  Then I would not have, since as mentioned the snowfall was a record for February.  In full disclosure, flight cancellations following the national meeting of Animal Science Department Heads in New Orleans excused me from all but the very end of the polar vortex.

The topics discussed at the Department Heads meetings were exceptional and reminded me of just how special the Animal Science Department is at the University of Minnesota.  The sidebar conversations were about issues very common across many universities.  All seem to be facing the issues of how to adapt curriculum for a changing student demographic.  Probably many universities in what we would consider more rural areas have not dealt with the changes to the extent of more metropolitan universities such as University of Minnesota and The Ohio State University, but all are facing change.  With this continued run of historically low milk prices, there were many discussions about how animal science departments are coping with revenue shortfalls and aging facilities.

I am proud to share a new video created to promote our department and undergraduate programs. This video does a great job of capturing the breadth and diversity of the undergraduate experience in our department, and we are excited to use it and promote the wonderful work our program is doing. Please share with those who you feel are interested in learning more about our program.

Congratulations to the Gopher Dairy Club for an outstanding awards banquet held last Sunday, February 17, 2019.  This continues to be an exceptional event.  Congratulations also to individual award recipients.  I look forward to celebrating in several weeks with the Block and Bridle Club as well.

Registration is now open for our annual Animal Science Showcase on April 3, 2019.  This will be held from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm in the Cargill Building on the St. Paul Campus.   We will recognize outstanding alumni of our department including John Goihl (Industry) and Dr. Tom Porter (Academia) as well as celebrating the successes of our faculty and students.  I hope your schedules allow you to join us for this excellent event.

Finally, Mary Buschette, CFANS Director of Alumni Relations, reports that the CFANS Alumni Society Board is seeking new board members and would love to have an alum from Animal Science.  See below in this newsletter for more information.

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

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

As printed in The Insider

In 2014, Dr. Krishona Martinson of Animal Science led a team to develop Healthy Horse, the first for-profit mobile app sold by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Dr. Martinson’s team recently launched an updated version featuring new visuals, additional horse breed types, and options to use the app in Spanish and with metric units. The app also includes links to new articles on managing thin and overweight horses.

Healthy Horse helps horse owners and professionals estimate horse bodyweight based on research-backed equations. To use the app, users select an equine breed type and enter the equine's height, body length, neck and girth circumference, which then estimates the horse’s bodyweight and ideal bodyweight. Determining a horse’s bodyweight is important for feeding management, health maintenance, and medication administration. Sponsored by Purina, the app is available on IOS and Android devices.

Approximately 40% of the food that we produce in the US is wasted, while the demand for food puts pressure on our environmental resources. Therefore, decreasing the environmental footprint of pork production is a goal of our lab within at the Department of Animal Science. We do this by facilitating ways in which otherwise wasted feed ingredients would be fed to pigs. We can use feed ingredients such as rendered products (article can be found on page 10 of February Issue of Render Magazine)and even chocolate and candy ( More recently, we characterized new streams of food waste to feed pigs ( But feeding food waste and other feed ingredients to pigs also pose a risk for transmission of foreign animal diseases such as African Swine Fever. We are working on a project to study the risk and find ways to mitigate it:

Dr. Marcia Endres was invited to speak at various events in recent months. In late June, she spoke at the ADSA Ruminant Nutrition Symposium: Management and Nutrition of Dairy Cattle in the New Era of Automation in Knoxville, TN on the topic of automated milk feeders for preweaned dairy calves. In July, she presented twice (at 8 a.m. and at 5 p.m.) at the AMTS Nutritionist webinar series on the topic of milking dairy cows with robots. Her presentation was simultaneously translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese, as there were attendees from various countries, not just the USA. In September, Dr. Endres was invited to give two talks about the evolving world of precision dairy technologies – one focusing on individual cow sensors and the other one focusing on robotic milking and automated calf feeding - at the annual meeting of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in Phoenix, AZ. In October, she (along with Jim Salfer) presented six different talks on topics related to robotic milking of dairy cows during a day-long workshop at the annual Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association Convention in Madison, WI and the next day she traveled to Antalya, Turkey to speak at the 5th Herd Health and Management Congress on the topic of lameness and cow comfort. She was one of three invited US speakers along with 10 other foreign speakers at this international event for veterinarians. Most recently, in November, she was the keynote speaker at the Livestock Performance Testing LTD Dairy Seminar in Szolnok, Hungary. She gave two talks – one on the relationship between social and feeding behavior and health in dairy cows, and the other one on using rumination sensors to predict disease in dairy cows. The committee invited her to speak again at this event next fall on the topic of robotic milking in dairy herds. She was also invited to speak in January 2019 at the annual meeting of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and presented two talks on the topic of robotic milking including troubleshooting in robot herds.  Research from her team and her field experience are getting some exposure here and abroad!

News and Announcements

A large number of people, including 60 undergraduate students and 110 parents, faculty, staff, and industry representatives, came together for the 35th annual recognition banquet of the Gopher Dairy Club on Sunday, February 17, in the ballroom of the Radisson Roseville, which is north of the St. Paul campus. A one-hour social started at 11:30 am followed at 12:30 pm by a steak dinner and a celebratory program.

Sheila Harsdorf, former Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, received the club's Golden Graduate Award, and Dr. Marshall Stern, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Animal Science, received the club's Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Jim Dickrell, Editor Emeritus of Dairy Herd Management was the featured speaker, and he predicted the future of the U.S. dairy industry and the future career opportunities within the industry.

Student members were recognized during the final half of the program. The University of Minnesota's two nominees for the Senior Student Recognition Program of National Dairy Shrine were announced, and they are Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN, and Brooke Roberts, Manitowoc, WI. Kaleb Kruse, Dyersville, IA, received the $2,000 Douglas Siem Memorial Scholarship, because he was the highest-ranking applicant for the club's new student scholarships. Ten freshmen were presented with $1,500 new student scholarships. Emily Annexstad, St. Peter, MN, was announced as the 2019 R. W. Touchberry Outstanding Junior in Animal Science.

Two club members in their sophomore year received the Outstanding Rookie award, which was renamed this year in memory of club member Dylan Fulton, and the recipients were Katherine Gathje, Richmond, MN, and Mikayla Erf, Oakdale, MN. Brooke Roberts, Manitowoc, WI, received the Outstanding Senior award, which was presented in memory of Dr. Bill Mudge, who was a founding co-adviser of the Gopher Dairy Club.


Jeannette Sheehan (right), dairy producer from Rochester, MN, provided the oral citation for Golden Graduate Award recipient Sheila Harsdorf.

Club Secretary Lauren Hendel provided the oral citation for Distinguished Service Award recipient Dr. Marshall Stern.

Senior Student Recognition Award nominees for National Dairy Shrine were presented awards by Judd Hansen (center), representing Genex/CRI, to Brooke Roberts (left) and Lauren Hendel (right).

Katie Thompson, Plainview, MN, who was the 2018 Douglas Siem Memorial Scholarship recipient, provided the oral citation for Kaleb Kruse, who is the 2019 recipient.

Ten freshmen members of the club received $1,500 new student scholarships. Front row (l. to r.): Ellen Harth, Isabelle Lindahl, Bailey Ruen, club Treasurer Mike Slater (presenter), Kjersten Veiseth, and Nick Seitzer. Back row (l. to r.): Carter Herbst, Zach Uter, Leif Annexstad, Matthias Annexstad, and Isaac Nelson.

Emily Annexstad was presented the plaque as the R. W. Touchberry Outstanding Junior in Animal Science by Department Head Mike Schutz, who was the first recipient of the award in 1983.

Katherine Gathje (left) and Mikayla Erf (right) were announced as the Dylan Fulton Outstanding Rookies. Dylan Fulton's family attended the banquet including parents Paul and Kayleen and siblings Wyatt, Mackalyn, and Jenna.

Rachel Coyne (left), Spring Valley, WI, provided the oral citation for Outstanding Senior Brooke Roberts.

The Department of Animal Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota is pleased to announce that Mr. John Goihl has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Industry, and Dr. Tom Porter was chosen as the winner of the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Academia. The Golden Alumni Award recognizes one alumnus from industry and one alumnus from academia that has achieved distinction in their professional lives for their outstanding contributions to animal agriculture and exceptional service to their respective fields.

Mr. John Goihl  received his bachelors and master of science degrees in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. During his time as a student, John was very involved in a number of student activities and organizations including being a member of Livestock and Meats Judging Teams, Block and Bridle Club, Farm House Fraternity, and the Alpha Zeta honorary and professional society in agriculture. As a graduate student he conducted several swine nutrition experiments and served as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate “Feeds and Feeding” course. Upon receiving his M.S. degree, he completed all necessary courses for a Ph.D. degree in animal nutrition, but was hired away from the University to serve as Research Supervisor at the Supersweet Research Farm in New Ulm, MN in 1963. This was the beginning of his impactful 56-year career in the feed and animal industry.

Early on in his career, John developed a reputation for being knowledgeable and innovative, always seeking to improve productivity and efficiency in animal production. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to form Agri-Nutrition Services (ANS) in Shakopee, MN in 1973, which he owned and successfully managed for 45 years. John and ANS have become an icon in the upper Midwest, and filled an important niche by providing consulting services to smaller livestock and poultry producers, feed manufacturers, and vendors, and ANS eventually became a major supplier of vitamin-trace mineral premixes and base mixes to numerous customers. John is perhaps best known for his monthly articles, “Bottom Line of Swine Nutrition,” in Feedstuffs magazine, which is considered one of the premier global feed industry publications. From 1974 to 2016, he identified timely and emerging swine nutrition topics, provided critical reviews of published research studies, and wrote over 500 articles that have guided swine nutritionists to use the most current technology when formulating swine diets. John has been a tireless and unselfish provider of exceptional service to his profession, the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, Minnesota Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, and the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota for many years. He has been an active and contributing member to the American Dairy Science Association, American Society of Animal Science, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and the National Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, as well as other professional organizations.

Dr. Tom Porter received his doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota, Department of Animal Science under Dr. Mohamed El Halawani. After completing his Ph.D. degree, Tom went on to a serve as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. He then obtained an Assistant Professor position at Texas A&M University. In 1997, he was recruited to the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland where he was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor and Professor. He became chair of the department in 2007 and currently is serving as Interim Associate Dean and Associate Director for University of Maryland Extension.

As a researcher, Tom is best known for his research in regulatory mechanisms for growth hormone production in broiler chickens. His research group has also made discoveries using genome-wide gene expression analyses to enhance our understanding of the neuroendocrine genes and gene networks controlling critical performance factors (growth, composition, and feed intake) of broiler chickens. Tom has been recognized for teaching and mentoring excellence. He has received numerous awards from the University of Maryland including: Junior Faculty Excellence Award, Alumni Excellence in Instruction Award, and Dean Gordon Cairns Award for Distinguished Creative Work and Teaching in Agriculture. Students flock to Tom’s laboratory. He has trained more than 20 graduate students and 5 postdocs and has served on more than 50 graduate advisory committees. More than 45 undergraduate students have apprenticed in his laboratory. Tom’s service contributions to professional societies and organizations are exceptional and numerous,  and include the Poultry Science Association (PSA) and the International Society for Avian Endocrinology (ISAE) as only a few examples. For the Poultry Science Association, he served as editor-in-chief of the Poultry Science journal from 2010-16 where he improved the quality, the impact and the breadth of published research.

Mr. Goihl and Dr. Porter will be recognized for their achievements and presented their awards at the 2019 Connecting with U – Animal Science Showcase on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Details for the event are listed below. Alumni, industry partners, students, and stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to attend. Register to attend at:


Connecting with U – Animal Science Showcase


Wednesday, April 3, 2019


10:00 AM – 1:30 PM


University of Minnesota—St. Paul Campus

Cargill Building, Atrium and Seminar Room

1500 Gortner Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108


10:00 AM – 11:30 AM – Poster Session

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Lunch and Networking

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Awards and Programming


Register here by Monday, April 1: 

For information or questions, please reach out to Allison Kierth at

We’re excited to share a new promotional video for the Department of Animal Science. Not only does the video highlight the beautiful scenery of the St. Paul Campus, but also highlights students and professors within the program.

The small town feeling in the big city, traveling all around the world, while still learning about topics that we are all passionate about. Does it get any better than that? Check out this video to get a glimpse of what the Animal Science program has to offer!

Fifty members of the Gopher Dairy Club attended the Midwest regional meeting of dairy science clubs.

Fifty student members of the Gopher Dairy Club traveled to Fargo, ND, for the Midwest Student Affiliate Regional Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association the weekend of January 25-27.  The Bison Dairy Club at North Dakota State University hosted the meeting.  Approximately, 400 university students from 12 Midwestern universities participated in the gathering. GDC member Brooke Roberts served as the President of the Midwest student affiliates of ADSA and presided over the weekend.  


On Friday, Senior Quiz Bowl and Junior Quiz Bowl teams competed, a pasta buffet was provided, and an opening program included a comedy act.  To conclude the day, a DJ provided dance music.  Educational workshops were provided Saturday on the NDSU campus.  Back at the hotel, a banquet dinner with a featured speaker (Corey Geiger, Editor of Hoard's Dairyman) and awards program finished out the formal portion of the meeting.  A dance with a live band rounded out the event on Saturday night.


The Gopher Dairy Club placed well in competitions -- 1st club yearbook, 1st Senior Quiz Bowl Team, and 1st Junior Quiz Bowl Team.  In addition, GDC member Rachel Coyne was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Midwest student organization for the upcoming year.  GDC adviser, Dr. Les Hansen, accompanied the 50 students who traveled in a chartered bus.

1st place senior quiz bowl team (l. to r.): Haely Leiding, Lauren Hendel, Kayla Leiding, and Emily Annexstad.

1st place yearbook for editors Emily Annexstad (left) and Morgan Krause (right).

1st place junior quiz bowl team (l. to r.): Leif Annexstad, Isaac Nelson, Katherine Gathje, and Matthias Annexstad.

This month, the Department of Animal Science office welcomed a new member to the team, Kyrié Douglass. Kyrié will be serving as the new Administrative Coordinator. We are so glad to have her as part of our team, and thought we would take the opportunity to introduce her to you!

Kyrié attended art school at the college of Visual Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she received her BFA in photography. After college, she worked with a few institutions and organizations around the Twin Cities, focusing on art education, including the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul and Silverwood Park in St. Anthony. From there, Kyrié transitioned out of the art education world and moved into an administrative role for LCH Paper Tube and Core Co. before beginning her position in the Department of Animal Science.

She enjoys working with children, which is why she was initially drawn to art education rather than a commercial art direction. However, Kyrié has experience working with all ages – toddlers to senior citizens.

Kyrié said, “There’s just something really fulfilling about working in the realm of education. I love learning, and much of the work I was involved in prior to the U was built around fostering a connection with the environment and nature through art.”

There are many reasons why she decided to seek out a career at the Department of Animal Science. Yet, what stood out to her were the people that make the program what it is today.

Kyrié said, “Many of the students, faculty and staff are driven to explore our relationships with the land, animals, and agriculture around us, with the spirit of discovery and sustainability.”

She grew up in Granite Falls; a city surrounded by farming communities which gave her the change to develop her love for the educational side of things, and learning more about the agricultural perspective.

Along with coordinating various day-to-day office projects, Kyrié has many hobbies. She loves animals, which is one of her favorite things about being on the St. Paul campus. She also enjoys hiking, exploring state and national parks, and film photography!

Welcome to the department, Kyrié!

Gopher Dairy Club is excited to announce that the 2019 Gopher Dairy Camp will be held from Sunday, June 16 to Tuesday, June 18 on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The Gopher Dairy Camp is open to youth that have completed grades 6 through 9, but have not yet started grade 10. It is hosted by the Gopher Dairy Club at the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the Minnesota 4-H Dairy Project Committee and MLBA.


Held Sunday through Tuesday, the camp offers unique workshops, which will allow attendees to improve their cattle grooming skills for the show ring and their knowledge of the production and processing of dairy products. Registration will open in March of 2019.Attendance is limited to the first 100 youth that register for the event. For further information about Gopher Dairy Camp, please visit  


For more information, contact:

Ashley Warren, Co-Chair

Gopher Dairy Camp


Fourteen Animal Science upcoming juniors and seniors were awarded $1000 Animal Science Departmental scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year. The scholarships were awarded based on scholastic achievement, leadership, and participation in departmental activities. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of private donors: 

Dr. M. E. Ensminger Scholarship - Madison Baumgartner, Amber Brink                                             

Dr. Wilson G. Pond Scholarship - Josh Ulbricht

Dr. Robert Touchberry Scholarship - Emily Annexstad, Sierra Swanson, Madeline Zutz 

Leonard Wulf Scholarship – Vanessa Roberts, Ramsey Piotter, Martyn Novacek  

Dr. Robert M. Jordan Scholarship - Kyra Flom

Dr. Richard Goodrich Scholarship - Abby Penzenstadler

Dr. Don Otterby Scholarship – Tanner Morrison, Mikayla Erf, Andrew Backman

Left to right: Emily Annexstad, Lauren Hendel, Marcia Endres (coach), Sierra Swanson and Jordan Agrimson

The University of Minnesota was well represented at the 15th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge held February 13-15 in Freeport, IL. The event was hosted by University of Illinois with 97 student participants from 19 collegiate dairy programs in Midwestern states. Dairy Challenge® is an innovative dairy analysis competition developed by industry and university professionals, which exposes students to opportunities in a vibrant dairy industry.

Working in four- or five-person, mixed-university teams, students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and presented recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and participating farm families. The ultimate goal of providing recommendations is to help improve farm performance and operation profitability.

Team members presented recommendations and then fielded questions from a panel of judges. These official judges included dairy producers and industry experts in dairy finances, reproduction/genetics, farm management, nutrition and animal health. Presentations were evaluated for accuracy of analysis and recommendations, with awards presented at the end of the day. The three dairy farms evaluated this year were Hunter Haven Farms, of Pearl City; Willow Valley Farm, of Kent; and Mitchell’s Dairy, of Winnebago.

Participants from the University of Minnesota included CFANS students Jordan Agrimson, Emily Annexstad, Lauren Hendel, and Sierra Swanson. Dr. Marcia Endres coached the team. Jordan’s team placed first in Farm 1 and Sierra’s team placed 2nd in Farm 3. All four students gave a very professional presentation as individuals on their respective teams. Congratulations! Our students described the contest as an excellent learning and networking opportunity. We thank all the industry sponsors that make the Dairy Challenge possible.

You are invited to attend the annual Big Ten Ag Alumni Reception in Washington, D.C. In the spirit of institutional cooperation, the Big Ten schools with agricultural programs are gathering our alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C. area for this special event. Please join us at the National Press Club for a reception and enjoy the fellowship of alumni and friends in agricultural and natural resources from across the country. Reconnect with college deans, administrators, faculty and staff from your alma mater. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar will be served.

Date: Monday, March 4, 2019

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Place: National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20045
(Metro Center Stop, 13th St. Exit)

Cost: $25 per person

The Midwest Poultry Federation is hosting the second annual Student Careers Program on Thursday, March 14, 2019. This program is geared for undergraduate and graduate students interested in poultry, agriculture production and other related fields.

Participants will get the opportunity to learn about the poultry industry and careers paths through a career panel and speed networking. Students can also interview with companies for on-farm and off-farm internships and jobs.

This event is free to participate. You can find more information about the program schedule here: or contact Pam Debele at

Registration link can be found here:

The CFANS Alumni Society Board of Directors is seeking diverse individuals who will bring passion and experience to the Alumni Society initiatives and advocate for our college. The positions are a three-year term beginning in July. There are currently no Animal Science alumni serving on the board, so consider applying today!

Learn more about the responsibilities and opportunities (hyperlink: If you are interested in serving on the board, submit your application here (hyperlink:

Graduate Student Spotlights

Kirsten is from Bemidji, MN and trekked down to Morris, MN, to obtain her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris. While working on her degree in environmental studies, Kirsten discovered the world of agriculture and has not looked back. Kirsten is pursuing a master’s degree in Animal Science under her advisor, Dr. Bradley Heins. She commutes from Morris to attend classes on the St. Paul campus. Her office is located at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, where her passion for dairy first began. Her research focuses on targeting specific areas within dairy barns where electricity use can be reduced. The goal for this project is to help producers meet rising consumer demands of more sustainable food production and reduction of fossil energy use. Kirsten is also investigating nutritional aspects of pre-weaned organic dairy calves in an automatic calf feeding system. She is comparing the health, performance, and economics of calves raised on an organic milk replacer versus whole milk. In her spare time, Kirsten likes to spend time outside with her dog, paint and draw, and check out the brewery scene.


Congratulations to Anna Clarke for successfully defending her MS thesis this month. Anna was advised by Dr. Lee Johnston, Dr. Gerald Shurson and Dr. Chris Faulk.

Calendar of Events

Mar 6 – PQA+ Certification, Marshall, MN

Mar 12-14 - Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, Minneapolis, MN

Mar 14 - Student Careers Program, Minneapolis, MN

Mar 19 – PQA+ Certification, Morris, MN

Apr 11 – Borealis Night of Excellence, St. Paul, MN

Apr 30 – CFANS eLearning Showcase, St. Paul, MN