AnSci Connection - March 2019

Notes from the Department Head

Here at the University of Minnesota, Spring is in the air, folks appear to be coming out of hibernation, and the campus is beginning to bloom with the opportunities celebrate.  As I recall from my days as a student back in the early 1980’s, one of the highlights of each spring semester was Minnesota Royal.  I have fond memories of showing a dairy heifer that in no way helped me during the competition, writing and participating in skits, and other events during the week.  Well, here we are in 2019, and Minnesota Royal is upon us again. I’m really looking forward to the events of the upcoming week and getting reacquainted with this long-standing tradition.

Just as a reminder, registration continues 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.

Spring is also the time of the year when we on campus conduct annual evaluations.  In many of my previous experiences, it was a time to sit down and take stock of my accomplishments for the previous year and goals for the next, and then wait to determine how my boss viewed these.  When finished it checked another box off for the annual work cycle.  Perhaps many of you feel the same way.  However, for me this year in my new role as Department Head, the annual review process is proving to be very enlightening.  It is a chance to notice all of the incredible work that our faculty and staff are doing each and every day in teaching, research and Extension.  I look forward to sharing more of these exciting stories in future editions of this newsletter.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to attend the annual meeting of Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association.  As Department Head of Animal Science, I am asked to be on their board of directors and with that I have the honor of accepting the portraits of the inductees into the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame.  The portraits hang in the dedicated space on second floor of Haecker Hall.  It continues to be a privilege for our department to host the Hall of Fame that provides such a key link to the leaders of the livestock industry in Minnesota and the legacy they have left to our students and us.  Congratulations to 2019 MN Livestock Hall of Fame Inductees Paul and Melanie Fritche, Dar Giess, Mark Goodrich, and Walter Schultz.

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

Dr. Mike M. Schutz
Department Head
Department of Animal Science

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

We are very proud of our graduate students within the Department of Animal Science. This February, graduate student Hannah Phillips won the poster competition at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. The MOSES Organic Farming Conference is an annual conference that is hosted by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service.

This year the conference was held in La Crosse, WI from February 27th-29th. It is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming, offering 60 workshops, keynote speakers, roundtables, and much more. Hannah received 1st place in the poster competition where she presented on “Freedom Ranger Broilers to Reduce Flies in Organic Dairy Pastures.”

Hannah said, “I was very excited to win the research poster competition as it was the only livestock-focused study.”

There were 16 presenters in the contest. Hannah’s research will be published in the Organic Broadcaster in May. Keep an eye out for the May issue of the AnSci Connection when we will share this link!

Johny group’s research, “Effect of Turkey-Derived Beneficial Bacteria Lactobacillus salivarius and Lactobacillus ingluviei on a Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Strain in Turkey Poults” published in the Journal of Food Protection. Johny’s former MS student Jijo Thomas is the primary author of the manuscript.

Johny group’s research, “Reduction of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg Using a Dairy-Originated Probiotic Bacterium, Propionibacterium freudenreichii freudenreichii B3523, in Growing Turkeys” published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research. Johny’spPostdoc, Dr. Divek Nair is the first author of the manuscript.

Dr. Johny presented at the 2019 Midwest Poultry Federation education program workshop on Organic and Specialty Poultry Production. His presentation was entitled “Essential Oils: Opportunities to Improve Food Safety in Organic Poultry Production and Processing.”

Dr. Johny presented at the 2019 Minnesota Association of Meat Processors meeting held in St. Cloud, Minnesota. His presentation was entitled “Essential Oils as Antimicrobials in Poultry Processing – Opportunities and Challenges.”

Kerem Deniz, an Undergraduate Research Scholarship awardee in CFANS, selected Dr. Johny as his research mentor.

Shiliang Jia from the China Agricultural University joined the lab as a visiting scholar. He is a third-year doctoral student in food science and engineering in his parent institution. Jia will work on spoilage microbes in poultry meat.

On March 16, 2019, Kyle Rozeboom (Department of Animal Science), Wayne Martin (Livestock Extension), and Dr. Whitney Knauer (Veterinary Medicine) held a sheep/lamb management workshop on the St. Paul Campus. Nearly 40 people attended the workshop. Attendees came from a variety of background, some highly experienced with sheep, and others with no experience at all but planning to raise sheep in the near future. This workshop was an all-day event with a morning session about breed selection, nutrition, lambing assistance, diseases and health monitoring in Haecker Hall. Then, the afternoon sessions moved to the sheep barn with topics focusing on lambing management practices, facilities, and lactation ewe care. Participants got the change to engage in hands-on activities including tail docking, ear tagging and administering injections.

The event was a great success and those that attended indicated a great need for additional workshops in the future. In response to this postivie feedback, future field days are being planned to focus on other important topics including marketing, pasture management, and breeding season/ram management.

News and Announcements

We are just one week away from the 2019 Animal Science Showcase. Make sure to register now

The event will be held to celebrate the accomplishements of our faculty, students, and alumni over the past year. This event is open to alumni, industry partners, students, and stakeholders. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus
Cargill Building, Atrium and Seminar Room
1500 Gortner Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

The showcase will begin at 10 AM. 

New officers of the Gopher Dairy Club (l. to r.): Officer at Large Sierra Swanson, President Emily Annexstad, Secretary Ashley Warren, Treasurer Kaleb Kruse, Reporter Katherine Gathje, and Vice President Rachel Coyne.

The new 6-member executive officer team for the Gopher Dairy Club was elected at the 90-member club's monthly meeting on February 7.  New officers are:

President -- Emily Annexstad, St. Peter, MN

Vice President -- Rachel Coyne, Spring Valley, WI

Secretary -- Ashley Warren, Forest City, MN

Treasurer -- Kaleb Kruse, Dyersville, IA

Reporter -- Katherine Gathje, Richmond, MN

Officer at Large -- Sierra Swanson, Hutchinson, MN

Dr. Les Hansen continues as the faculty adviser for the club.

The annual meeting of the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science was held in Omaha, NE March 11-13.  This meeting is the premier research meeting for swine nutritionists and swine production researchers.  The Department of Animal Science Swine Group was well represented by current graduate students, recent alumni, and faculty.  The group, plus a token Dairy Scientist (can you find him/her?), enjoyed a memorable dinner at Omaha Prime.  The appetizer was especially memorable!

During the last week of March, the Gomez lab completed a 3-day series of activities with students from North High, in North Minneapolis, 9-12 class. 

They started by visiting with the students and talking about their research on animal and human microbiomes and fermented foods. The students were intrigued by the topic and asked several questions.

The students got the opportunity to visit the department and experienced several activities. Students paid a visit to the dairy barn; where they interacted with the calves and cows; they loved interacting with the animals, although they were a bit sensitive to the smells. Later, they visited the microbiomics, fermentation and rumen nutrition labs where they were exposed to information and hands-on experiences with the process of making fermented foods. They learned about in-vitro fermentation systems to study mono gastric and ruminant nutrition, and about molecular biology and bioinformatics techniques to study the microbiome. They finished the activities by catering a special lunch for them based on fermented foods: pickles, kombucha, chocolate and yogurt- the students loved the lunch! They also watched a video about microbiome research and human and animal health and nutrition.

They wrapped up the activities with a visit to North High again, where students learned about how to make their own fermented foods. The kids made lacto-fermented vegetables, tasted them and learned about why and how microbes are essential for the fermentation process. They also learned about the health benefits of microbes for humans and animals who consume them. They were invested in the activity and loved making their own fermented cabbage. 

Many people worked to make this a success with the Gomez lab, including: 

Mike Schutz, department head, for officially welcoming the students.

Saige Sulzberger, dairy barn manager, for showing them the dairy cows and calves, and for explaining the science behind ruminants, and milk production.

Bob Omontese, postdoc, for talking to them about research with ruminants and rumen microbes. 

Ashok Sharma, postdoc, for teaching them about bioinformatics and for showing them about programing and coding to study the human microbiome.

Jae Cheol Jang, postdoc with Drs Urriola and Shurson, for showing them about in vitro fermentation systems to study mono gastric nutrition.

Sam Davison, lab technician/researcher, for talking to them about molecular biology and DNA-based techniques to study the microbiome, and for supporting all activities during their visit.

Ky Guse, research specialist, for talking to the kids about fermentation, the health benefits of consuming fermented foods and for showing them how to make their own fermented vegetables for their consumption.

Graduate Student Spotlights

The Animal Sciences Graduate Club consists of current graduate students in the Department and serves as a networking opportunity and a social environment. In this edition, meet the President, Vice-President and Treasurer. As a team, this semester they have organized for graduate students to learn how to prepare for jobs and careers outside of graduate school to encourage professional development.  

Glenda Pereira – Graduate Club President

Glenda is originally from Rhode Island and is a 2nd year PhD student in dairy genetics and management with a focus on pasture-based crossbred dairy cattle. As President she is in charge of reiterating the students concerns to the department, serves on the graduate studies committee, leads graduate club meetings and organizes graduate student events. 

Mateus Peiter - Graduate Club Vice President

Mateus is originally from Brazil. He is a 2nd year PhD student working on dairy cattle behavior and welfare with a focus on automation and technology in dairy production. As Vice-President, Mateus is in charge of assisting the President, taking notes at meetings and organizing graduate student events. Mateus also serves on the Animal science departmental diversity committee.

Amanda Reiter - Graduate Club Treasurer

Amanda is originally from Minnesota and is a 2nd year M.S. student with a focus in equine nutrition. As treasurer, she is responsible for keeping track of the graduate club's finances, and assisting the President as well as the graduate club in organizing events. 

Glenda Pereira, Graduate Club President

Mateus Peiter, Graduate Club Vice President

Amanda Reiter, Graduate Club Treasurer

Calendar of Events

Apr 1-6 – Minnesota Royal, St. Paul, MN

Apr 3 – Connection with U – Animal Science Showcase, St. Paul, MN

Apr 3 – PQA+ & TQA Training, Rice, MN

Apr 3 – SowBridge program – “Prolapses

Apr 4 – SowBridge program – “Current Manure Value – Getting the Most from Manure”

Apr 17 – PQA+ & TQA Training, Worthington, MN

Apr 20 – U of MN Block and Bridle Spring Pig Sale, St. Paul, MN

Apr 22-26 – Waste to Worth Conference, Minneapolis, MN

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

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

May 15 – PQA+ & TQA, Hutchinson, MN

June 5-7 – World Pork Expo, Des Moines, IA

June 12 - PQA+ & TQA, Mankato, MN

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