AnSci Connection - October 2018

Notes from the Department Head

The October snowfall on a Sunday earlier this month reminds us that autumn is advancing and winter will soon be upon us. But in many ways, each fall semester on campus is like spring. We welcome a budding (and by all indications—outstanding) freshmen class to campus; and the level of energy picks up all around campus. It’s an exciting time to be in the Department of Animal Science at the University of MN. Student judging teams have been working hard to prepare for recently completed and upcoming judging events. And their coaches have been working hard too! Classes are in full swing. But perhaps most importantly students and all concerned are building new relationships…students are making new friends, faculty are welcoming new students, hiring new lab workers, welcoming new graduate students, and the list goes on. As a professor, I have always been grateful for the renewal that fall semester brings each year.

Earlier in September, we had the opportunity to dedicate the fourth floor conference room to Professor Sally Noll. Upon my arrival at UMN, I was pleased to learn that the Animal Science Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee had recommended the dedication of the room to Dr. Noll as the first woman hired as a faculty member in our department. While that is a significant achievement in itself, we did not dedicate the conference room to Dr. Noll solely because she was the first female professor. We dedicated the room because she is an outstanding faculty member and is a model for the role of a professor at a land grant university. To avoid any confusion, Sally is not retiring yet, and she plans to continue her Turkey research and outreach program. That event was attended by a large number of Dr. Noll’s past and present colleagues and students and a great time to recognize some of Sally’s achievements to date!

November 15, 2018 is Minnesota’s Give to the Max Day, and our department is looking forward to participating this year. Raising funds for student development will be the focus of the Animal Science Department. We will be raising funds for undergraduate study abroad scholarships, as well as travel grants for our graduate students. Our students have a number of opportunities for study abroad led by Animal Scientists, including England and Wales, Italy, and Costa Rica. Pending final approval, Drs. Melissa Palmer and Beth Ventura recently returned from Thailand and will be leading a course “Elephants & Marine Ecosystems: Health, Welfare, and Biodiversity in Thailand” as a 6-week, 6 credit course next summer. Equally important, our graduate students have many exciting opportunities to present at and attend national and international conferences, sharing the great research happening in our department and making connections on a global level. These opportunities are crucial for our undergraduate and graduate students to expand and apply what they’ve learned, build meaningful connections, and proudly represent our department in the scientific and international communities.

Have a great October. Ski-U-Mah!

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

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

This fall, Dr. Bruce and Susan Behrends established the 'Dr. Bruce and Susan Behrends Scholarship' fund. The scholarship will provide financial support to Animal Science students with preference given to those students interested in poultry research and production.

Dr. Bruce Behrends grew up on a farm in Washington Co. Minnesota that included dairy cattle, hogs and laying hens. He earned his BS in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota in 1969 and his PhD in 1977. His graduate work focused on nutrition research with turkeys. His career with Sparboe farms, a major egg producer headquartered in Litchfield, MN, spanned more than 40 years where Bruce helped grow the company to be one of the largest egg producers and marketers in the US. Bruce formulated and purchased the feed for the Sparboe flocks and did nutrition consulting for poultry producers in the US and internationally through Sparboe’s AGRI-TECH division. In the past years, he has worked with organic and cage-free egg producers. In 2012 and 2013 he taught the Poultry Production class at the University of Minnesota. He is a nationally and internationally recognized Poultry Nutritionist. The University of Minnesota provided the education and direction for his career success and he and his wife, Sue, are excited to be able to provide a scholarship for undergraduate students with the goal of recruiting more students into the poultry industry.  

The students, staff, and faculty of the department are deeply appreciative of this gift and look forward to many years of Behrends Scholars to come.

Our livestock team been accomplishing some fantastic and impactful programming in the recent weeks.

A Healthy Horse app has recently been updated with new visuals, additional breed types (based on research developed equations) and options to use the app in Spanish and with metric units. Additionally, the app now includes links to new articles on managing thin and overweight horses. This app was the first to be sold by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents when it was launched in 2014.

Here is a link to a YouTube video on how to use the app if you’re interested:

Pictured (l to r): Extension Dean, Bev Durgan, Sarah Schieck, Joseph Rand, Abby Neu, Diane DeWitte, Wayne Martin, Kevin Janni

The University of Minnesota Extension Biosecurity Education Team was awarded the 2018 Dean's Award for Distinguished Team at the annual Program Conference.  The Extension Biosecurity Team delivers science-based, practical education to serve immediate and future needs of the Minnesota animal agriculture industry.  In 2016, they constructed the Biosecure Entry Education Trailer (BEET), which has reached more than 179,300 people in the Midwest.  BEET workshop audiences have included businesses that serve animal agriculture, veterinary students and Minnesota 4-H livestock project participants.  The team does not limit its education efforts to the use of the BEET.  They have produced multiple YouTube videos on biosecurity, as well as fact sheets in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali.  

Members of the team include:  Carol Cardona, Erin Cortus, Sharon Davis, Diane DeWitte, Kevin Janni, Wayne Martin, Abby Neu (MS Animal Science '17, PhD student), Sally Noll (Animal Science Professor), Joseph Rand and Sarah Schieck (MS Animal Science '09).

Research published from Dr. Marshall D. Stern's laboratory on "Comparisons of bacterial and archaeal communities in the rumen and a dual flow continuous culture fermentation system" led to an invitation to publish in Research Features, an International publication. Research Features works in collaboration with research teams around the world assisting with Public Outreach activity.  Their goal is to make complex, basic and applied research accessible to huge global audiences. Results of this collaboration can be read in this pdf file or the following link: 

The article provides a platform describing how the University of Minnesota's rumen simulation model will allow future research by Drs. Marshall Stern and Andres Gomez to better understand factors  affecting rumen microbial ecology and how best to remedy performance and health issues that ruminants encounter.

University of Minnesota Swine Extension is collaborating with Dr. Dave Wright and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health to offer Secure Pork Supply (SPS) Workshops for Producers in November and December.

Ten workshops are scheduled across Minnesota during which swine producers can create their own farm-specific SPS plans. 

Details of the workshops, locations, times and registration information can be found on the UM Extension Swine website blog at  Online registration is available and its link can also be found in the UM Extension swine blog. 

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 in one of two categories Achievement in Industry and Achievement in Academia. The awards 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 for each category 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.
  • The Achievement in Industry award is meant to recognize alumni in industry and the Achievement in Academia award is meant to recognize alumni in academia. Both awards are 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 15th 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:

Allison Kierth

(Please send PDF via email)

Dr. Sally Noll cutting the ribbon to the Sally L. Noll conference room dedicated in her honor.

On Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 the Department of Animal Science named the conference room on the fourth floor of Haecker Hall in honor of Dr. Sally L. Noll. The event was well attended with over 80 individuals from the university community, industry organizations, and family and friends of Dr. Noll. The ceremony featured speakers from the department, department head Dr. Mike Schutz and faculty member Dr. Milena Saqui-Salces, as well as industry colleague Jim Halvorson. 


In the 32 years since Dr. Noll joined the department as its first female faculty member, she has established herself as a highly respected researcher and educator specializing in the area of turkey nutrition and management. Her extension and applied research programs have benefited turkey producers by improving meat yield, and her collaborations with other scientists have led to improvements in turkey health and production systems through studies and extension programs on biosecurity, holding facilities, gut health, and the epidemiology of avian viral diseases. Her contributions have been recognized with numerous accolades from the Minnesota Turkey Growers, National Turkey Federation, Phibro Extension, American Feed Industry Association, and the Poultry Science Association. She was also honored with the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Campus-based Faculty, presented by University of Minnesota Extension. 

The event was very well attended with over 80 individuals from the university community, industry organizations, and family and friends of Dr. Noll.


As an educator, Dr. Noll has trained poultry scientists who are employed by universities and industries across the country. She has advised numerous master’s and PhD students at the University of Minnesota and through her participation in the Midwest Poultry Consortium summer session at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also championed undergraduate opportunities in poultry science by serving for many years as faculty advisor of the Gopher Poultry Science Club. Throughout her tenure she has actively recruited and supported students and faculty in the fields of poultry and animal sciences.

2018 senior dairy cattle judging team for the University of Minnesota (l to r): Coach Dr. Les Hansen; Coach Alicia Thurk Hiebert; Haely Leiding, Fountain, MN; Krista Styer, Menomonie, WI; Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN; Kayla Leiding, Fountain, MN; Coach Gabriella Sorg, Coach Eric Houdek.

Senior members of the dairy cattle judging team for the University of Minnesota competed very successfully in two of the "Big Three" dairy cattle judging contests at Harrisburg, PA, and Madison, WI, this fall.

On September 17, senior team members Haely Leiding, Fountain, MN; Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN; and Krista Styer, Menomonie, WI; plus junior Emily Annexstad, St. Peter, MN, competed in the collegiate dairy cattle judging contest hosted by the All American Dairy Show, Harrisburg, PA.  The team placed 2nd overall among the 15 teams competing.  The team also placed among the top 4 teams in all 5 breeds included in the contest -- 2nd Ayrshire, 3rd Brown Swiss, 3rd Guernsey, 3rd Jersey, and 4th Holstein.  Individually, Leiding was 5th overall, 2nd Jersey, and 5th Ayrshire.  Hendel placed 10th overall, 1st Guernsey, and 2nd Brown Swiss.  Styer was 11th overall and 2nd Ayrshire, and Annexstad was 1st in oral reasons (by a 4-point margin).

Subsequently, on October 1, the three seniors on the Harrisburg team also competed in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest that was held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI.  Senior Kayla Leiding, Fountain, MN, replaced junior Emily Annexstad for the national contest alongside Haely Leiding, Krista Styer, and Lauren Hendel.  The team placed 6th overall of 19 teams as well as 2nd team Guernsey, 2nd team Milking Shorthorn, 4th team Brown Swiss, and 5th team Holstein.  Individually, Kayla Leiding was 4th overall, 4th oral reasons, 2nd Guernsey, 3rd Milking Shorthorn, and 4th Brown Swiss.

Mathia Colwell, Nicole Wanner, and Melissa Drown, all from Chris Faulk’s lab recently attended the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society where they won the Networking Quest award. The three students also each won $750 travel awards, and Dr. Faulk won the Newly Independent Investigator Engagement Program Award, making for a successful meeting all around.


Many of the labs on campus do many different tasks and reach certain goals and accomplishments throughout the year. It is only fair that we share those events with you! These updates come from the lab of Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny.

First, Dr. Divek Nair won the Poultry Science Association (PSA) Hatchery outstanding student award at the PSA annual meeting. He is a postdoctoral associate in DAS working with Dr. Johny. 

Next, Ms. Grace Dewi, an MS poultry student in DAS supervised by Dr. Johny, won one of the PSA Graduate Research Travel Awards at the 2018 PSA annual Meeting! She was appointed as the Region 2 Director of the PSA Hatchery (Student Association of PSA).

Grace Dewi defended her MS thesis successfully. Dr. Johny was her Major Advisor. She was one of the Rising Scholar Fellowship recipients in DAS. She continues in DAS as a doctoral student with Dr. Johny. 

Dr. Johny published a review paper on antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in the food supply.

Dr. Johny talked in the "4-minute lightning talk special session" at the PSA annual meeting. He was selected as one of the 20 scientists from various disciplines in poultry research nationwide to present in this session. Title of his talk was "Effects of combination of antibiotic alternatives on multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg in commercial turkeys," a research funded by Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council and Rapid Response Funds. 

Registration, hotel reservations, and tickets to the 2019 Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF Convention) will open up November 1, 2018 at

Show dates are March 12-14, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As you make your plans to attend the nation’s largest trade show and convention that is 100% focused on the poultry industry, please note the following:

  1. The Pre-Show Nutrition and Poultry Health Symposium and the MPF Welcome Reception will be held Tuesday, March 12.
  2. Education workshops feature a NEW schedule and will run Wednesday morning, March 13 (8 am – 10 am) and Thursday morning (8 am – 10 am) and afternoon, March 14 (1-3 pm and 3-5 pm).  
  3. Exhibit Hall hours have been expanded for 2019 and will be open 10 am - 5 pm on Wednesday, March 13 and 9 am – 2 pm on Thursday, March 14.
  4. MPF is excited to announce Jo Dee Messina will headline the 2nd annual MPF Unhatched: An Evening of Eats and Entertainment on Thursday, March 15. NEW this year – you may purchase individual seats for $100/each or entire tables of 8. All purchases include a gourmet meal + wine pairing created exclusively for MPF as well as the private Jo Dee Messina concert!


Full Details

Details on all MPF Convention events, education program, and the list of exhibitors are available at  Please contact MPF with any questions (763/682-2171 or

About MPF

Last year, more than 3,400 attendees and exhibitors attended the MPF Convention. MPF’s primary purpose is to host an annual regional convention emphasizing on-farm poultry production. The convention’s goal is to offer innovative and compelling information to attendees through a balanced offering of exhibits and educational workshops. Revenue generated by the convention goes back to MPF members and to support various poultry programs.

Dr. Marshall D. Stern was the keynote speaker at the U. S. Soybean Export Council 5th Regional Dairy Nutrition Conference (MENA - Middle East North Africa) in Cairo, Egypt, September 23 to 24, 2018. He gave two presentations on "Various Techniques Used in Ruminant Nutrition Research" and "Methods for Improving Efficiency of Protein Utilization in Dairy Cattle".


Graduate Student Spotlights

Amanda Reiter is from North Central Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Animal Science with an Equine Emphasis. She is now in the second year of her Master’s program. Her Masters research includes comparing round bale wrap-types during outdoor storage as well as determining if beef cattle have a preference of wrap type. Amanda also has an interest in muscle biology focusing on equine satellite cells. Her research in the lab is determining the effect of a metabolite of leucine on protein synthesis and degradation. She plans to complete her program in 2019 and pursue a PhD. When she is not in the field or the lab, Amanda enjoys riding her Friesian Sport Horse, Aldrick, and hanging out with her awesome dogs, Emmy and Rylee.


Congratulations to Grace Dewi (M.S.) for passing her final defense. Grace was advised by Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny.

Calendar of Events

Nov 7 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Le Sueur, MN

Nov 8 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Mankato, MN

Nov 8 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Faribault, MN

Nov 8 - Artemisia Seminar: Shefali Mehta, "Building your own resilient ecosystem from failure", St. Paul, MN

Nov 14 - PQA+ Advisor Certification, Marshall, MN

Nov 19 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Lafayette, MN

Nov 26 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Worthington, MN

Nov 27 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Pipestone, MN

Nov 28 - PQA+ Certification, Stewartville, MN

Nov 28 - TQA Certification, Stewartville, MN

Dec 5 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Hutchinson, MN

Dec 6 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Winthrop, MN

Dec 12 - PQA+ Certification, Mankato, MN

Dec 12 - TQA Certification, Mankato, MN

Dec 13 - Women in Ag Network December Quarterly Event, St. Cloud, MN

Dec 13 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Rushford Village, MN

Dec 14 - Artemisia Seminar: Shefali Mehta, "Building your own resilient ecosystem from failure", St. Paul, MN

Dec 14 - Secure Pork Supply Workshop, Blooming Prairie, MN