AnSci Connection - Nov 2016

Notes from the Department Head

It’s November - Halloween is past and we are looking forward to Thanksgiving in the near future. We are past mid-semester and looking towards finals in December so it is a busy time for students, faculty and staff in the Department.

As all of you are no doubt aware, animal welfare and behavior are becoming increasingly important issues for both animal producers and the general public. Consequently, one of the goals in our recently completed strategic plan is to increase our course offerings in these areas. To accomplish this we have recently hired Dr. Beth Ventura whose expertise is in animal behavior and welfare. This Spring Semester Dr. Ventura will be offering two classes dealing with animal welfare and behavior. “Animal Welfare Science and Ethics of Animal Use” is a three credit, multi-disciplinary course in which students will develop an intellectual framework for understanding and interpreting animal welfare from scientific and ethical standpoints. “Introduction to Applied Animal Behavior” is a two-credit course through which students will explore fundamental concepts of animal behavior among domesticated and captive animals. We are excited about these courses and believe they are a first step in increasing the awareness and knowledge of both Animal Science students and the general student population concerning the important areas of animal welfare and behavior.

In this season of Thanksgiving we want to thank all of you for the support you provide for the education, research and extension efforts of our department. We hope you have a great fall and a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Wishing you all the best.

Dr. William R. Dayton

Department Head

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Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

The University of Minnesota invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position, Assistant Professor rank, with expertise in the microbiome. Among the nation’s top 10 public research universities, the University of Minnesota  is one of only three universities in the United States with a comprehensive Academic Health Center, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences and College of Biological Sciences on one campus. We offer state-of-the-art core research facilities and established world class research programs, including a strong core of faculty studying microbiomes, to support scholarship excellence in this position. The University of Minnesota is a participant in the National Microbiome Initiative and was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for its commitment to advancing microbiome research.

This position will be a core component of the Integrated Animal Systems Biology Team in the Department of Animal Science Expectations for this position include developing a research program related to the role of the microbiome in food animal production, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses, and recruiting and mentoring graduate students. 


For the full position description, visit us at our website:


Apply online at:  (search for job 314151).

Application review begins February 15, 2017; position open until filled.

“The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer”

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On October 25, the St. Paul campus hosted the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.  Equine Extension Specialist Dr. Krishona Martinson gave them a tour of the Leatherdale Equine Center and discussed collaborations between the Animal Science Department and the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Martinson also highlighted the connection between research, Extension and teaching by discussing the processing of developing, marking and using the Healthy Horse App in teaching and Extension programs.   Regents Anderson and Hsu showed great horsemanship as they learned how to estimate horse bodyweight using the Healthy Horse App with help from our trusty steed Sierra.       

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Dr. Chris Faulk’s R01 research project that his lab is working on in conjunction with Dr. Dana Dolinoy at the University of Michigan was recently featured in a blog post on the National Institutes of Health webpage. The post was written by director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, and it shares an overview of the epigenomics research that Drs. Faulk and Dolinay are doing in their labs and the implications for what it could mean for the future of precision medicine.

Dr. Collins writes, “Research on the human genome has provided some really important lessons over the years. But to understand how DNA works also requires learning about the epigenome. It’s this epigenomic control in all parts of the body that is vital for understanding how humans develop from a single cell and what can go wrong, for example, when ultraviolet radiation, food, chemicals, or other factors in the environment disrupt the expression patterns of the genome. While Dolinoy and Faulk are just getting started, the importance of this work can’t be underestimated for filling our biomedical toolbox with the right kinds of molecular interventions to enable a future of precision medicine.”


To read the full blog post, go here:

To learn more about Dr. Chris Faulk and his research, go here:

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This past October, Dr. Jerry Shurson presented at Export Exchange 2016, the nation's premier international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and co-products. More than 400 people attended Export Exchange in Detroit, MI to meet and learn about economic, export, and production outlook for feed grains commodities and dried distiller grains (DDGS).

Dr. Shurson presented on the benefits of incorporating DDGS into the diets of poulty, cattle, and swine. He shared the benefits of DDGS such as it being an excellent feed value, lower methane emissions from dairy cattle, reduced hydrogen sulfide and ammonia in the manure of piglets, and natural antioxidants that improves the health of the animals without the use of antibiotics.

To learn more about Dr. Jerry Shurson and his work on biofuels co-products in animal feeds, go here:

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The 1st annual Minnesota Grazing School was held in Grand Rapids, MN on August 26 and 27, 2016. The program was delivered by the Minnesota Grazing Lands Conservation Association (GLCA), University of Minnesota Extension (Beef Team), and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The program featured both classroom and field exercises to demonstrate the fundamentals of rotational grazing. Minnesota GLCA President Roy Bell of Leader, MN said “The school was a tremendous success and the people that attended the school were very happy with the information they learned about grazing.” Participants from all over Minnesota said they were really amazed with how much information was packed into the school. Evaluation comments included: “The stuff we learned in the field was awesome and really gave me some good ideas to take home and try on my place; it was definitely worth the cost.” The event was supported by sponsorships from Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association, Thousand Hills Cattle Company, Brandywine Farms, and Kencove.


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About 40 faculty and staff attended the first annual CFANS eLearning Showcase on October 25 in the Borlaug Commons. Associate Dean Michael White welcomed eight presenters and various university resource staff to share eLearning practices that have invigorated their teaching and contributed to student learning. Among the presenters were faculty members Krishona Martinson and Marshall Stern, as well as graduate student and extension educator Abby Neu. Below are the topic titles of their presentations:

  • Developing online courses for undergraduates and adult learners – Dr. Krishona Martinson
  • Challenges in developing an online version of a highly interactive in-class companion animal nutrition course – Dr. Marshall Stern
  • Undergraduate learning gains and student satisfaction of online vs in-person animal science courses - Abby Neu

For those interested in learning more about their topics, feel free to browse the lightning-talk slide deck ( for slides of their presentations as well as those of other presenters.

Plans are underway to create another event in which participants will learn how to increase the visibility of university resources, such as the Center for Educational Innovation and the Academic Technology Support Services.


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Last month, the University of Minnesota Equine Faculty held an Excellence in Equine Research Poster Presentation at the Leatherdale Equine Center. It was an opportunity for graduate students and faculty to showcase their research, connect with industry members and highlight the collaborative efforts between the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences and Extension.  Animal Science graduate students Amanda Grev, Devan Catalano, Michelle DeBoer and Abby Neu presented posters.  Krishona Martinson, Equine Extension Specialist, gave a tour of the Equine Center and the horse forage research plots.     

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Two recent works were published from Dr. Johny’s lab in October – a peer-reviewed research article in the Poultry Science Journal, and a book chapter in an Academic Press publication. Dr. Johny and his group research on developing ‘Alternatives to Antibiotics’ (A2A) interventions against major foodborne bacteria that cause enteric illness in humans. Since poultry (broilers, layers, and turkeys) is a common host for pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, his group uses poultry in their challenge – intervention – response (CIR) studies to determine the efficacy of antibacterial interventions.

In the Poultry Science research article, Divek Nair (doctoral student of Dr. Johny) and Dr. Johny reports the potential of a probiotic bacterium of dairy origin, Propionibacterium, to kill Salmonella Heidelberg, one of the most invasive Salmonella serotypes in humans. This Salmonella caused a major nationwide outbreak in the USA a few years ago, where around 200 people contracted a severe illness. Ground turkey was the poultry product associated with the outbreak. Divek and Dr. Johny used different screening methods to determine the potential of Propionibacterium to kill the Salmonella. Please read the full article here ( Dr. Johny’s group has validated the studies in turkey poults, the report of which is currently under preparation.  

In the book chapter, Dr. Johny presents his research work on phytobiotics (plant-derived compounds) as another A2A intervention against Salmonella in poultry. He presents a strong case for phytobiotic nutrition in layer chickens to reduce Salmonella contamination of shelled eggs. Salmonella can get into the inside of eggs when the eggs are formed in the layer’s reproductive tract. Dr. Johny presents a comprehensive review of the use of phytobiotics in poultry, their current uses and prospects in animal nutrition, especially in the post-antibiotic era. He also discusses the problems associated with the commercialization of phytobiotics from his research experience and from other researchers who work in the area of phytobiotic nutrition. Please read the book chapter here: ( 

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News and Announcements

Our student worker Lisa is thankful for family!


Faculty member Marcia Hathaway is thankful for health!

Faculty member Kyle Rozeboom is thankful for family!


Our graduate student Matt is thankful for Justin!

Our graduate student Justin is thankful for ice cream!


Grace, Dr. Johny, Yuan-Tai, Edward, Dr. Saqui-Salces, Joey, Dr. Urriola, Jijo, and Divek are grateful for cookies!

Our graduate students Michelle, Devan, Amanda, and Glenda are thankful for their 2 and 4-legged family members!


Students in ANSC 4044-Applied Dairy Nutrition are thankful for classmates (Fred specifically it looks like!)

Faculty member Tony Seykora is thankful for students!


Faculty member Les Hansen is grateful for 'Fantastic students'!

Faculty member Beth Ventura is thankful for coffee!


Michelle from our accounting office is thankful for 'A sense of humor!'

Allison from our office staff is thankful for community!


Dr. Chris Faulk's lab is thankful for 'a friendly lab'!

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Department of Animal Science clothing is back, just in time for the holidays! There’s no better way to let people know you’re proud to be in Animal Science! Department clothing is sold as a fundraiser for the Animal Sciences Graduate Club.

The catalog includes many great items such as travel mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, and more!

Orders will be due Monday, November 28th!

The order form and catalog can be found at the Graduate Club website below:

Orders may be turned in to 305 Haecker Hall or mailed to the address below.

**All questions can be directed to Brittany Shonka-Martin (
**Orders may be mailed in if they are received before November 28.
Animal Sciences Graduate Club
c/o Brittany Shonka-Martin
1364 Eckles Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108

**Buyers will receive an email when their order is ready with pick-up instructions. Orders usually take approximately two weeks to process. Pick-up will take place in Haecker Hall. In certain cases, orders may be shipped for an extra cost. Please contact Brittany Shonka-Martin to discuss shipping.

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Recruitment for the 2017 Center of Excellence Scholarship and Internship Program (COE) is underway as representatives start to attend career fairs to expose students to the benefits COE has to offer.

COE offers strong, research-based poultry science education followed by a paid internship. Dates for the 2017 COE classes are May 15 - June 23. This allows for longer internships with Midwest Poultry Consortium (MPC) member companies. Internships are a vital component of the COE experience and provides hands-on knowledge for students interested in a career within the poultry industry.

If interested in being a part of COE or know of a student who would be a good candidate, please apply here. The COE application is due December 5, 2016.

For more information, please view the MPC's Recruitment Brochure or contact MPC at or (651) 766 - 8118.

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The Gopher Dairy Club hosted its 5th annual Food Animal Networking Evening (FANE) on Wednesday evening, October 19, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, a short distance northwest of the St. Paul campus.  The event is essentially a career fair for University of Minnesota students with interest in internships and full time employment with food animal based organizations.  Student members of Block & Bridle, Gopher Poultry Science Club, Pre-Vet Club, and Ag Education Club were invited to join members of the Gopher Dairy Club.


From 5 to 7 p.m. during the career fair, 77 undergraduate students mingled with representatives of the 26 food animal organizations at their table-top displays.  Many of the representatives are alumni of the University of Minnesota.  The career fair was followed by a formal dinner with assigned seating so students could have additional discussion with the organization representatives while dining.  A brief program followed that included presentations by two senior members of the Gopher Dairy Club -- Crystal Siemers-Peterman and Ethan Dado -- in which they provided their observations on what students look when applying for internships and positions and what organizations are likely seeking from student interns and future employees.


The participating organizations were:

  • Accelerated Genetics
  • ADM
  • Agropur
  • AgStar Financial Services
  • All American Coop
  • Associated Milk Producers Inc.
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica
  • broadhead
  • Centra Sota Cooperative
  • Christensen Farms
  • Dow AgroSciences/Mycogen Seeds
  • DuPont Pioneer
  • Elanco
  • Farmer, Lumpe + McClelland
  • Form-A-Feeds
  • Holden Farms
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Minnesota Farm Bureau
  • Minnesota Milk Producers Association 
  • Minnesota Pork Producers Association
  • Select Sires, Inc.
  • United Farmers Cooperative
  • Vita Plus Corporation
  • Wakefield Pork, Inc.

Group photo of undergraduate students that participated

Group photo of organization representatives that participated

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Gopher Poultry Science Club (GPSC) started off the year with two of its members, Elizabeth Theis and Michaela Olson volunteering to talk about poultry at the Ag and Food Day Football Game on September 10th. The booth was set by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Minnesota Chicken and Egg Association. GPSC encourages its members to connect with the Poultry Industry at Minnesota during such events. Students learn on how to communicate poultry on campus and become harbingers of the industry-academia partnership!

GPSC’s first meeting this fall was held on September the 22nd. This year, GPSC is being led by Ms. Rachel Kircher (President), Madison Taylor (Vice President), Suzy Pagel (Secretary), Divek Nair (Treasurer), Eli Braun and Elizabeth Theis (Co-PROs). The club is being advised by Drs. Anup Johny and Sally Noll.

In another event, members of GPSC joined the CFANS resource fair where its members educated the booth visitors on chicken eggs! They talked about the internal contents of chicken eggs and encouraged the visitors to identify the parts of an egg. It was a great event with Dean Buhr visiting our booth! For more details, please visit our FB page.

Later, Eli Braun and Suzy Pagel wall painted the GPSC logo/ad on the Bridge. This was an opportunity to showcase our club on the Minneapolis campus.

Recently GPSC hosted the FFA poultry CDE at the Poultry Teaching and Research Facility on campus. Members participated in preparing the facility, and the poultry items (carcasses, eggs, further processed products) for the test. About 140 students participated in the event, and were tested on the internal and external egg quality, turkey and broiler carcass quality and poultry products.

Recently, the club advisors, Drs. Sally Noll and Anup Johny, won one of the 2016 United States Poultry and Egg Association Student Recruitment Awards. This award is given to recruit new students to poultry science, and to engage in activities that support poultry-related student activities on campus. The grant was made possible by the USPOULTRY Foundation through a gift from the GNP Company . This will be a great opportunity for the GPSC members to connect with other interested students on campus and come up with innovative ideas



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By a 22-point margin, the dairy cattle judging team from the University of Minnesota placed 1st overall in the intercollegiate contest held November 6 at the North American International Livestock Exposition, Louisville, KY.  This follows a 31-point margin win by the University of Minnesota at the same contest last year.  The University of Minnesota has placed 1st overall in the NAILE collegiate contest 5 of the past 7 years.

All 4 members of this year’s Minnesota team placed among the top 5 individually – Ethan Dado, Amery, WI, was 1st overall, Austin Schmitt, Rice, MN, was 2nd overall, Gabriella Sorg, Hastings, MN, was 4th overall, and Laura Jensen, Comstock, WI, was 5th overall.  As a team, they placed 1st in Guernsey, 1st in Jersey, 2nd in Holstein, 3rd in Ayrshire, and 5th in Brown Swiss among the 17 four-year university teams.  This follows a victory this fall by the University of Minnesota in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI. 

Individually, Dado was also 1st Guernsey, 2nd Holstein, and 9th Ayrshire.  Schmitt was 4th Guernsey, 6th Ayrshire, 9th Jersey, and 10th Holstein.  Sorg was 2nd Guernsey and 2nd Jersey, and Jensen was 1st Jersey and 4th Brown Swiss.  Coaches for the team are Dr. Les Hansen, Scott Ellinghuysen, Alicia Thurk, and Eric Houdek. 

Team rank (points): 1. Minnesota (2152), 2. Cal Poly (2130), 3. UW-Madison (2067), 4. Kentucky (2065), 5. Penn State (2034), 6. UW-River Falls (2033), 7. Purdue (2018), 8. Cornell (2004), 9. North Dakota State (1997), 10. Kansas State (1996), 11. Michigan State, 12. Ohio State, 13. Iowa State, 14. UW-Platteville, 15. North Carolina State, 16. South Dakota State, 17. Maryland.

First-place collegiate team in the dairy cattle judging contest at NAILE, Louisville, KY, from the University of Minnesota (l. to r.): Dr. Les Hansen, coach; Gabriella Sorg, Hastings, MN (4th individual), Austin Schmitt, Rice, MN (2nd individual), Ethan Dado, Amery, WI (High individual), Laura Jensen, Comstock, WI (5th individual).

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University of Minnesota Extension is recruiting for an Extension Educator, Livestock (Swine) whose audience will be pork producers and other industry professionals.  The successful candidate will provide leadership in delivering state-of-the-art educational programs while working with key collaborators.  The focus of this position will be on pork production systems management.  Consequently, the successful candidate must have the background and ability to address a wide range of disciplines and issues related to swine production.


Job Opening ID:  313760

Required Qualifications: Master’s degree or Ph.D. degree in animal science, agricultural engineering, reproductive physiology, agricultural economics or closely related field or DVM. 

Experience: Designing, conducting, and/or collaborating in research projects; and grant writing and/or revenue development.

Skills/Abilities: Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, partners and stakeholders are required.

Preferred Qualifications:Two years professional experience, including the graduate study period, in a field related to swine production.  Designing, delivering, and evaluating swine-related educational programs; using technology in an educational programming setting; Previous experience in an Extension/outreach program at a land grant institution.

Review of Applications:  Begins on December 5, 2016; Position will remain open until filled.


To obtain a complete position announcement download from Web at  Or call (612) 624-3717.


The U of MN is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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Graduate Student Spotlights

Abby Neu is from Buffalo, MN and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2002 with a bachelor’s in Agriculture Industries and Marketing. She worked in equine industry for 11 years before joining University of Minnesota Extension in 2013. Abby is advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson and will defend her Masters in January 2017. Her research projects consist of evaluating the impact of hay rakes on ash content of hay and comparing learning gains and student satisfaction of online versus in-person undergraduate courses. Over the years, Abby has enjoyed training and showing her horses and previous students to more than forty national and world championships. She also spends time volunteering with CFANS Alumni Mentor program, Minnesota 4-H Horse Project and Freedom Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. After completing her master’s, Abby will continue to work for University of Minnesota Extension as a regional extension educator, currently focusing on poultry biosecurity education and emergency management.

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Tyler Johnson is pursuing his master’s degree in animal science with an emphasis on feedlot nutrition. He is advised by Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo. His research focuses on the economic benefit of utilizing an integrated crop and livestock system in the Midwest as influenced by corn harvest type.

Tyler was born and raised in Peterson, MN where he grew up on a small beef farm. That is where his passion for working with beef cattle began. Tyler manages the University Feedlot in Rosemount, MN and had a large role in the remodeling of the facility over the last year, which now has the capacity to conduct research in thirty indoor bed-pack style pens. He also helps with University Extension events and was a member of the 2014 Livestock Judging Team.

In his free time, he enjoys showing cattle, helping out on his family farm, and hunting.

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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