AnSci Connection - September 2017

Notes from the Department Head

The last few weeks have been busy ones here on campus. Several of our faculty were involved in the State Fair. Fall semester is underway and students are back on campus. This year we have 115 incoming freshmen and 20 transfer students which gives us a total of 425 undergraduates enrolled in the Animal Science Department. Students are enrolled in one of the following 5 emphasis areas: Science/Biotechnology/Pre-veterinary medicine, Industry and Business, Production, Companion Animal, or Equine. Additionally, we have 49 graduate students enrolled in masters or Ph.D. programs. We recognize and greatly appreciate the contributions our students make to our department, college, and university.

We are currently in the process of filling two new assistant professor positions funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as part of the AGREETT (Agricultural Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer) Program. Dr. Andres Gomez has accepted one of these positions and will join us later this month. Dr. Gomez will develop research and teaching programs focusing on the impacts microbial communities have on animal health and production. Additionally, we are currently conducting interviews to a fill a Beef Production Systems faculty position. This position is 60% extension and will focus on conducting translational research in the area of beef cattle production systems. We are excited about the expertise these new positions will add to the department and we believe the new faculty members filling these positions will make significant contributions to the teaching, research, and extension activities of our department.

I would like to encourage you to check out our Animal Science Facebook page to see current information on activities and events in the Animal Science Department. The page can be accessed on the Animal Science website (http:/ or directly at

We are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges in the upcoming academic year. Thank you for you continued support of our Department and our programs. 

Wishing you all the best.

Dr. William R. Dayton

Department Head

Teaching, Research, and Extension Highlights

Earlier in the summer, the University of Minnesota hosted the 25th Symposium of the Equine Science Society in Minneapolis, MN.  Over 100 graduate and undergraduate students from across the US and world competed in various student research presentation competitions.  Several University of Minnesota graduate students placed in these competitions, including:


1st place Genetics Graduate Student Competition.  Elaine Norton advised by Dr. Molly McCue.  "Identification of a genetic locus associated with height and metabolic traits in Welsh ponies".


1st place Production and Management Graduate Student Competition. Amanda Grev advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson.  "A comparison of reduced lignin and conventional alfalfa varieties and their potential for use as equine forage sources". 


3rd place Production and Management Graduate Student Competition. Devan Catalano advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson.  "Estimation of actual and ideal bodyweight of miniature, saddle-type and gaited horses using morphometric measurements". 


1st place Extension and Teaching Graduate Student Competition:  Aby Neu advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson.  "Comparison of undergraduate student learning gains and satisfaction when enrolled in animal science courses offered in person and online".  (Abby is a Livestock Regional Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Extension).   


The following students also presented their research at the Symposium:

Michelle DeBoer advised by Drs. Marcia Hathaway and Krishona Martinson.  "Glucose response of horse grazing alfalfa, cool-season perennial grasses and teff across seasons".

Rachel Mottet advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson.  "Effectiveness of stable fly protectants for adult horses". 

Amanda Reiter (undergraduate student) advised by Dr. Krishona Martinson.  "Variation in nitrate concentrations of alfalfa, perennial cool-season grasses and teff grazed by horses in the Upper Midwest".

Mikayla McDonald (undergraduate student) advised by Dr. Molly McCue. “Association of leg length-to-torso rations and metabolic phenotypes in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses.”

This summer Dr. Bill Dayton shared the news of his plans to retire.  For 42 years, Dr. Dayton has consistently and passionately delivered nothing but excellence in teaching, superb leadership, and support of the mission of CFANS. He will be greatly missed.

Dr. Dayton earned both a bachelors in animal science and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Iowa State University. He accepted an assistant professor position in the department of animal science at the University of Minnesota in 1975 moving through the tenure and promotion process to full professor in 1985. His research emphasis in animal growth biology utilizes molecular biology and muscle cell culture methodologies to study the regulation of muscle growth during embryonic and postnatal growth of economically-important animals. He has secured several million dollars in grants for his highly successful research program.

During his entire tenure, Dr. Dayton has taught the undergraduate Animal Growth and Development course; additionally, he organized a cooperatively-taught, on-line, graduate-level Animal Growth and Development course involving professors from four different universities. Students from 10 universities have participated in this course. It was not uncommon for Dr. Dayton to be advising more than 40 undergraduate students at a time.

His extensive and varied leadership responsibilities include director of graduate studies in animal sciences since 2008, serving on the college Graduate and Research Policy and Review Committee, and Directors of Graduate Studies Committee. He designed and leads the department's mentoring program for new faculty. He chairs the department's seminar committee and served as chair of the department's Faculty Consultative Committee.

A reception will be scheduled for a future date. In the meantime, the department and college have begun a nationwide search for the position. The search committee for that position is being led by Department Head and Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics Nancy Ehlke and includes a number of animal science department faculty and staff.


Thank you Dr. Dayton for your service and dedication to our deparment!

Recently, the Extension Poultry Team translated several fact sheets from English to Hmong, Spanish and Somali. The fact sheets provide information on disease prevention and management in various flocks including chickens and pigeons and can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension - Poultry website. The fact sheets include:


Avian Influenza: Basics for urban and backyard poultry owners

Avian Influenza: Basics for organic and pastured poultry flock producers

Avian Influenza: Avian influenza basics for pigeon owners

Avian Influenza: Biosecurity for pigeon lofts

Avian Influenza: Pigeon and influenza viruses


With the help of the contracted translators, press releases are being distributed to communities whom would find this information useful in raising their birds.  Abby Neu, Wayne Martin, and Sally Noll completed this project with assistance from Michele Scherman and Hannah Lochner, Extension Livestock Team communications intern.

This summer the swine nutrition graduate students visited two Minnesota based pork producers, New Fashion Pork and Christensen Farms. The producers shared an overview of business models, company values, and future goals. Minnesota pork producers are setting high standards improving land use, animal welfare, and producing safe nutritious pork. The group learned how nutritionists make business decisions using standard parameters such as growth and feed consumption, but also other business oriented parameters such as income over feed cost, space cost, and opportunity cost. They also covered current research topics in these organizations and had the opportunity to share their own research.

These experiences helped the graduate students to understand the impact of research at the University of Minnesota in their businesses. The visits included tours to feed mills and research farms to understand the connection between feed production and research conducted in a production setting. During both tours it was stressed how the many moving parts impact decision making and how nutrition can affect other areas of the company. This insight into the swine production industry is valuable for graduate students to be able to relate what they are doing in an academic setting and how it could potentially affect the swine production industry. The UMN swine nutrition group is very thankful to New Fashion Pork and Christensen Farms for welcoming them and giving them insight into the swine production industry.


The "Biosecure Entry Education Trailer" (BEET) and training was developed by poultry and swine extension faculty and educators and was demonstrated at the Minnesota State Fair on August 31, 2017. The poultry and swine biosecurity team composed of extension faculty (Kevin Janni,Sally Noll, Erin Cortus), extension educators (Abby Neu, Sara Schieck, and Dianne DeWitte) and Extension Livestock Communications Intern (Hannah Lochner) spent the day at the fair visiting and showing  people the BEET and answering questions about biosecurity and avian influenza. The crew also conducted skits on the Christensen Stage to introduce people to the concepts of biosecurity, germs, and line of separation. Special thanks to Abby, Sara, and Dianne for organizing and developing the BEET program and materials for the fair!

The BEET is available for education and training for those in animal agriculture (regardless of size). The objectives of the BEET education are: 1) For managers to develop, assess, and practice biosecurity protocols for their poultry/swine barn(s) and 2) Farmers and employees can practice protocols and technique in a safe location.  This effort is funded through support from Rapid Agricultural Response Funds, Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

If you are interested in hosting a BEET education and training session for your operation, please contact either:

Abby Neu, Extension Educator - Poultry, 320-235-0726 x2019,

Sarah Schieck, Extension Educator - Swine, 320-235-0726 x2004,


Photo of the team with visitor Beth Thompson ( Executive Director, Minnesota Board of Animal Health). Names from left to right - Cortus, Janni, Schieck, Thompson, Neu, Lochner. Not shown - Dianne DeWitte and Sally Noll.


 The pilot program "Poultry Health Educator" (funded by the State of Minnesota) was held at the Minnesota State Fair on August 20th during the check-in of poultry for the 4-H contest. The initial steps of this program were to conduct a needs assessment and gather data of exhibitors on poultry health and biosecurity. The team (Extension Educator - Wayne Martin, Extension Poultry Specialist - Sally Noll and UM Animal Science students - Michaela Olson and Mariah Huberty) collected about 200 surveys. The team was also able view the poultry, check-in, and arrangement of the poultry barn. Many thanks to the 4-H parents and youth for completing the survey on an extremely busy day for them.  Thanks as well to the BOAH staff and 4-H check in crew.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the University of Minnesota Leatherdale Equine Center, the University of Minnesota Equine Extension Team is hosting two educational programs.


An Adult Horse Owner Education program will be held on October 21, 2017 and includes topics such as recognizing and treating ulcers, selecting the right forage source for your horse, different stretches to improve horse fitness, and how to determine horse bodyweight and body condition score.  Online registration is available at and is required by October 18, 2017.


A Youth Horse Owner Extravaganza will be held on November 4, 2017 and will include topics such as nutrition 101, winter care, mythbusters: horse and pony edition, and first aid. Online registration is available at and is required by November 1, 2017.


Both events will be held at the University of Minnesota Leatherdale Equine Center and cost is $25 per person; the fee includes a box lunch and proceedings.  Additional information can be found online here.

This past August, the swine nutrition Ph.D. students had the opportunity to visit Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Missouri. The state of the art research farm hosted an event where animal science students and professors were invited to tour the farm and learn about their research and career opportunities. Purina farms has research facilities for an abundance of equine, beef, dairy, swine, backyard poultry, aquatics, rabbit, small ruminant, deer, and companion animal nutrition experiments. In addition, the Purina has in-vitro models to test immune function. As part of this experience, the graduate students were able to see all the facilities first hand and interact with some of the researchers who perform these experiments.

                One of the main takeaways the students gained from the experience was a new understanding of how a product is developed. At Purina Farms, Land O’ Lakes has three main groups that work together in product development. One group is in contact with the consumer and constantly surveying what the consumer is demanding. The next group communicates that information to the researchers and helps the research team develop an experiment. The last group (the research team) then performs the experiment and develops a product to test. This product will then go back to the group that works closely with the consumer and they will collect feedback on how the product is working on the consumer’s farms. Finally, the researchers will take that feedback and perfect the product so it is ready to be put on the market.  Overall, there is a great deal of collaboration that goes into developing a new product and the farm did an excellent job explaining that process to the students.

In addition to the learning experience, the students also had the opportunity to visit with students and professors from other universities. They had opportunities to connect and socialize over an ice cream bar, great meals, and a visit from one of the Budweiser Clydesdales! The students had a great time at the event and look forward to future communication with Purina Farms.

News and Announcements

The Animal Science Department welcomed Norrie Zier to the accounting team on July 19th, 2017. She is the new preaward grant contact. Norrie supports preaward grant preparation and submission to SPA for Animal Science, Food Science and Nutrition, Applied Economics and Agricultural Education. She has a bachelors from St. Catherine University in chemistry. Norrie's experience includes working at University of Minnesota Sponsored Projects Administration, University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Medicine and a local nonprofit in Minneapolis. Norrie currently resides in St. Paul, MN with her husband. She loves to spend time with her sisters and their golden doodles. Norrie enjoys cooking (especially spicy food), baking, ballroom dancing, and movies. She loves to try new things and looks forward to traveling the world. 

The Department of Animal Science welcomed Jae Cheol Jang to the department on August 1st,, 2017. He is the new Postdoc in the laboratory of swine nutrition, under the supervision of Drs. Pedro Urriola and Gerald Shurson. He received his bachelors in animal science from Kangwon National University, masters and Ph. D. in animal nutrition from Seoul National University. Jae’s previous research focused on nutrient utilization in swine, especially determination of the feeding level of new byproduct feeds. Other research interests included effect of group housing on gestating sow welfare. He currently takes part in the research project on LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) for pork production when modifying type and regional sourcing of feed ingredients.

Jae is originally from Seoul, South Korea. He recently moved in CTC (Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative) in St. Paul, MN with his spouse Gonee and daughter Gaeun. He wants to improve himself and expand his knowledge while studying at the University of Minnesota.





This summer the University of Minnesota Meat Science team traveled to College Station, TX for the 2017 Reciprocal Meat Conference.  The U had six individuals in attendance including Dr. Ryan Cox, graduate student Jordan Juckel, and four undergraduate students: Josef Pettit, Kirsten Hall, Paige Netzke, and Rachel Pappenfus. The five students competed in an Intercollegiate Processed Meat Judging Contest, an Iron Chef Competition, and an Undergraduate Quiz Bowl Competition. In the Processed Meat Judging Contest, Jordan Juckel placed 1st in the graduate novice division and 4th overall. In the undergraduate novice division, Paige, Josef, Kirsten, and Rachel placed 6th, 7th, 10th, and 13th respectively out of 33 students. In the Iron Chef Competition, Rachel Pappenfus was a member of the team placing second overall, along with taking home the people’s choice award. The undergraduate students made it to round five of the Quiz Bowl Competition. While in College Station, the team was able to tour the George Bush Presidential Library. Undergrads, contact Jordan Juckel ( if you want to join in on the fun next year in Kansas City, Missouri! 

Annually, the Gopher Dairy Club presents monetary awards on a competitive basis to new students (freshmen or transfer students). Income generated at the Gopher Dairy Bar, which the club manages during the Minnesota State Fair, permits this financial support of new students.

The highest ranking individual receives the Douglas Siem Memorial Award of $2,000, and the other recipients receive awards of $1,500. The presentation of the monetary awards will take place during the 34th Annual Recognition Banquet of the Gopher Dairy Club on February 25, 2018, at the Radisson Roseville. Recipients with their hometowns and parents:

$2,000 Douglas Siem Memorial Award
Katie Thompson, Plainview, MN (Donny & Holly Thompson)

$1,500 Awards
Mitch Bobendrier, Pipestone, MN (Tom & Shelly Bobendrier)
Eva Doornink, Baldwin, WI (Todd Doornink & Elizabeth Griffith)
Mikayla Erf, Oakdale, MN (Dave & Kathy Erf)
Katherine Gathje, Richmond, MN (Scott & Denise Gathje)
Geneva Nunes, Chippewa Falls, WI (Matt & Mandy Nunes)
Vanessa Roberts, Whitelaw, WI (Keith & Beth Roberts)
Leah Ruen, Lanesboro, MN (Eric & Kristi Ruen)
Maddie Zutz, Valders, WI (Jeff & Kimberly Zutz)

Once again in 2017, Gopher Dairy Club members received the largest number of scholarships from National Dairy Shrine among all land-grant universities. U of M students received 16 of the 46 scholarships (35% of them) totaling $20,500. The scholarships will be presented to the students at the annual recognition banquet of National Dairy Shrine, October 5, during World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI.

Following the U of M's 16 scholarships was UW-Madison with 7 recipients, Penn State and Iowa State each had 4 recipients, and Cal Poly and Michigan State each had 3 recipients. No other land-grant university had more than 2 scholarship recipients.

Senior Recognition (7 scholarships)
Crystal Siemers-Peterman, Cleveland, WI (2nd -- $1,500)
Ethan Dado, Amery, WI (4th -- $1,000)

Junior Merit (5 scholarships)
Laura Jensen, Comstock, WI (1st -- $1,500)
Austin Schmitt, Rice, MN ($1,000)
Gabriella Sorg, Hastings, MN ($1,000)

Sophomore Merit (5 scholarships)
Trent Dado, Amery, WI (1st -- $1,500)
Haely Leiding, Fountain, MN ($1,000)

Freshmen Merit (6 scholarships)
Emily Annexstad, St. Peter, MN ($1,000)
McCullough Incoming Freshman (2 scholarships)
Katherine Gathje (1st -- $2,000)
Katie Thompson ($1,500)

DMI Education & Communication (5 scholarships)
Gabriella Sorg (1st -- $1,500)
Morgan Krause ($1,000)
Brooke Roberts ($1,000)

DMI Milk Marketing & Dairy Products (5 scholarships)
Trent Dado (1st -- $1,500)
Laura Jensen ($1,000)

Klussendorf/McKown (7 scholarships)
Rachel Coyne ($1,500)

The 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference is almost at capacity this year at its new location in Mankato.  The conference can accept no more than 25 additional attendees.  Walk-ins may register on-site.  The on-site fee is $225.  Online registration is closed.  

For more information, please visit:

The time is almost here! After nearly two years of planning and preparation, the Midwest ARPAS chapter is set to kick off the inaugural Professional Development Conference for Entrepreneurs (PDCE). 

This conference will be held on the afternoon of September 19th, half a day prior to the Minnesota Nutrition Conference, at the same location (City Center Hotel in Mankato).  

Sounds like a conference for someone else, right? Actually, this conference was designed with YOU in mind. Conference content is packed full of behavioral, emotional intelligence, and relationship skills that will be presented by people from agricultural backgrounds with practical scenarios that YOU face on a daily basis. Plus, you can brush up on your ruminant and or non-ruminant technical skills by staying a few more days for the Minnesota Nutrition Conference (additional registration is required).  

Registration for the PDCE is $40 for ARPAS members or $50 for non-ARPAS members with a $10 fee if registering on-site at the PDCE.  Save the $10 by registering online at  

Professional Development Conference attendees can earn 4 CEUs. Graduate students can attend free if they register and sign up to take the ARPAS exam at either the Professional Development Conference or Minnesota Nutrition Conference.

Looking forward to seeing you there! 

The National Corn Growers Association is again offering its William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship thanks to the sponsorship of BASF Corporation.

Five $1,000 scholarships are available to college students (sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students and Ph.D. candidates) who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agricultural, agribusiness or an ag-vocation field.

The five scholarship winners will be announced at NCGA’s annual trade show and convention, Commodity Classic, which will be held on February 27 – March 1, 2018 in Anaheim, California.

Applicants or a parent/guardian must be a member of NCGA. Funds are for the 2018-2019 school year. Past scholarship winners, employees and the families of employees of any division of BASF or their subsidiaries or NCGA are not eligible for the scholarship. Students may apply for membership at

Applications must be postmarked on or before December 1, 2017.

The application is available at:

Graduate Student Spotlights

Amanda grew up in Maplewood, MN. She went to Minnesota State University Moorhead and earned a bachelors in Biology with an Emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After graduation she moved back to the Twin Cities and started working as an animal technician at a preclinical research lab. After 10 months of working in animal care Amanda found a position in Pathology at the same company and loved it! After three and a half years she decided that she wanted to further her education and change things up a bit, so she went to grad school. Amanda started Fall 2016 and should be finishing up her Master's and defending in the Spring of 2018. Amanda was in charge of running a study that evaluated mouse feed intake on regular laboratory chow and on a corn-soy diet formulated for mice. Currently she is in the middle of her thesis project which examines physiological effects of isocaloric diets over generations.

Amanda now resides in Forest Lake, MN where she and her husband bought a house last year. On top of having a large research project this summer she also got married in July and went to Ireland for a week for her honeymoon. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog and spending time at the horse barn where she works and shows American Saddlebreds.


Amanda Palowski (Borchers) and her husband! Amanda is a graduate student in our department and advised by Dr. Chris Faulk. The couple got married this July surrounded by family and friends.

Allison Kierth (Berth) and her husband! Allison is our department’s student services professional and communications staff person. She and her husband Ryan were married earlier this month. They plan to travel to Thailand in January for their honeymoon.


Calendar of Events

Sept. 20-21 Minnesota Nutrition Conference, Mankato, MN

Sept. 27 Ag, Food, Business Career Fair, UMN Campus - St. Paul Student Center, St. Paul, MN

Oct. 20 - CFANS Homecoming: Beer & Brats Parade Party at the Bell, Minneapolis, MN

Oct. 21Horse Owner Education Program, St. Paul, MN

Nov. 4- Youth Horse Owner Extravaganza, St. Paul, MN