October 2015

♦ Notes from the Department Head ♦

Dr. Bill DaytonFall is here and winter isn't far behind. It is a busy time in the Department with classes and other activities associated with research and extension in full swing.

For the last several months we have been involved in a strategic planning process to establish 5-year goals for the Department. This process has involved surveys of faculty and stakeholders as well as a faculty retreat to identify priorities and goals. Based on input from faculty and stakeholders, our 5-year goals are 1) Develop and promote key areas of excellence and growth (nutrition, production and management, physiology, animal welfare); 2) Engage more fully with our stakeholders within the University and beyond; 3) Provide world-class teaching in Animal Science; 4) Provide updated facilities to house and work with animals, support laboratory research and teach students effectively; and 5) Secure the financial resources to put the Department on a path of excellence. We have established specific action steps to accomplish each of these goals and each year we will develop an annual work plan to move forward towards accomplishing each goal. We believe accomplishing these goals will strengthen teaching, research and extension in the Department and we wish to thank all of you who participated in surveys to facilitate development of our strategic plan.

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota Dairy Judging Team, coached by Dr. Leslie Hansen! The team placed first in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held on September 28 as part of the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. The team placed 1st Overall, 1st in Oral Reasons, 1st in Holstein, 1st in Jersey and 1st in Red & White categories. Team members included Vincent Migliazzo, Nathan Donnay, Eric Houdek and Matthew Hanson. The team also placed 1st Overall in the Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held September 14 at the All American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, PA.

Wishing you all the best.

Dr. William R. Dayton
Department Head

♦ Teaching Highlights ♦

From Rainforest to Reef

The course, "From Rainforest to Reef: Wildlife Medicine and Conservation in Belize" (CFAN 3510), was offered for the first time this summer (May 23-June 14, 2015). It was truly a unique opportunity for students interested in wildlife medicine, rehabilitation and conservation. The majority of the students enrolled in the course were Animal Science students with a pre-vet emphasis, as by design. Half of the students started in the rainforest outside of San Ignacio where they had the opportunity to participate in a number of activities at the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic (BWRC). Students learned how to immobilize injured wildlife using a blow dart, they participated in anatomy and radiology lab modules, and they helped with surgical procedures on an adult female kinkajou.

In addition to shadowing the lead wildlife veterinarian and co-founder, Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, the students were also assigned rounds, in which they had daily feeding and drug administration duties. The students also spent time at the Belize Zoo, the Community Baboon Sanctuary, the Belize Bird Rescue, and the Belize Iguana Project.

After a week, the students relocated to the coast and traveled to Gloveer's Reef Research Station owned by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Middle Caye in Glover's Reef, about a 1.5-hour boat ride from the mainland. Students had the opportunity to learn about the WCS and their conservation efforts within the marine reserve. They also had the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive in the area. It was not uncommon for us to see a number of coral Caribbean reef and nurse sharks, turtles (hawksbill, loggerhead and green sea), spiny lobsters, moray eels, queen conch and a variety of beautiful coral reef fish. Students made presentations on their favorite marine animals at the end of their stay on the island.

In June, all of the students traveled to Guatemala, where they spent time at the animal rescue center, ARCAS Petan, near Flores. The students spent a good part of the day learning about the center's mission and conservation efforts, and then were able to acquire hands-on experience giving intramuscular injections of vitamins to approximately 80 parrots. Overall, it was an incredible experience for everyone involved.

The same course will be offered again next year and is scheduled for May 21-June 12, 2016. Any students may are interested in taking this course may contact Melissa Palmer (melissap@umn.edu)!

Below are scenes from Learning Abroad "From Rainforest to Reef: Wildlife Medicine and Conservation in Belize" (CFANS 3510).

Photo taken in Belize

♦ News & Announcements ♦

NIH Awards $2.4 Million to Study Epigenetics

Christopher Faulk, Assistant Professor of Functional Genomics at the U of M, is a member of a Michigan-led research team awarded a $2.4 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work on techniques to advance the field of epigenetics. The team received one of eight Transformative Research Awards under the NIH Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program.

Dr. Faulk will be working with principal investigator Dana Dolinoy, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Maureen Sartor, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School, to develop gene silencing technology using a class of Ribonucleic acid (RNA) called Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA).

Read the full story at University of Michigan News.

Kim RenoReno Leaves Animal Science

October 2, 2015, was a sad day for the Department of Animal Science when Kim Reno served her last day as the Animal Sciences Graduate Program Coordinator. Kim accepted a position as an Office Manager in CFANS Student Services effective October 5th. Her new office is located in 190 Coffey Hall.

Kim first came to Animal Science in November of 1996 as a Principal Secretary. Over the years, she certainly made her mark on the Department. Kim will be greatly missed—especially her expertise in the graduate program, her camaraderie among faculty, staff and students, and her cheerful disposition.

Congratulations, Kim!

Brannon Honored by Rotary Club

Jeanine BrannonIn appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world, the Rotary Club of North St. Paul, Maplewood and Oakdale (NSTMO) recently honored Jeanine Brannon with the Paul Harris Fellow certificate and medallion. A Rotary Club member donated $1000 to the Rotary Foundation in Jeanine's name in recognition of her volunteerism for hosting 4 international students from their club as well as 9 international students from other clubs. The organization was grateful to Jeanine for providing an inviting home for students, her willingness to meet and provide information to new host families, and for her support and assistance to high school representatives regarding student registration.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional men and women united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace in the world.

U of M Takes Back-to-Back Victories in Dairy Cattle Judging at Harrisburg

Leading the competition of 15 collegiate teams, the U of M placed 1st overall in the dairy cattle judging contest held September 14 at the All American Dairy Show, Harrisburg, PA. The Minnesota team was also 1st in the Ayrshire breed, 1st in Brown Swiss, 2nd in Jersey, and 4th in Holstein. This is the 2nd year in a row and the 4th time in the past 6 years the U of M has placed 1st overall in the Harrisburg contest.  

U of M contestants were Vincent Migliazzo, Atwater, CA (1st individual overall); Nathan Donnay, Glencoe, MN (4th overall); Eric Houdek, Caledonia, MN (10th overall); and Dane Thompson, Turtle Lake, WI. Individually, Migliazzo was also 1st in oral reasons, 2nd in Ayrshire, 4th in Brown Swiss, and 9th in Holstein. Donnay was 6th in Brown Swiss, 8th in Guernsey, and 9th in Jersey, and Houdek was 9th in reasons, 1st in Ayrshire, and 10th in Holstein.

The margin of victory was substantial at 15 points. Coaches for the team were Dr. Les Hansen, alumni Scott Ellinghuysen and Alicia Thurk, and student Mary Liebenstein.

Team rank (points):

1. University of Minnesota (2087)
2. UW-River Falls (2072)
3. Cornell (2071)
4. UW-Madison (2039)
5. Virginia Tech (2033)
6. Cal Poly (2032)
7. Penn State (2010)
8. Iowa State (1998)
9. Michigan State (1983)
10. Oklahoma State (1961)
11. Ohio State (1950)
12. Purdue (1944)
13. Kentucky (1894)
14. Illinois (1879)
15. North Dakota State (1865)

Dairy Judging Team at Harrisburg
First-place collegiate team in the dairy cattle judging contest at the All-American Dairy Show, Harrisburg, PA, from the U of M (L-R): Dr. Les Hansen (coach), Dane Thompson, Mary Liebenstein (student coach), Eric Houdek, Vincent Migliazzo, Nathan Donnay, Alicia Thurk (coach), and Scott Ellinghuysen (coach).

U of M Victorious in National Intercollegiate Contest by 54-Point Margin

Dominating the competition, the U of M's dairy cattle judging team placed 1st overall by an incredible 54-point margin in the national intercollegiate contest held September 28 at World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI. The margin of victory is the second largest in history. The all-male Minnesota team was also 1st in oral reasons, 1st in Holstein (by a 17-point margin), 1st in Jersey (by a 17-point margin), and 1st in Red & White (by a 16-point margin). Furthermore, team members place 1st overall individually in 5 of the 7 breeds of cattle in the contest.  

U of M team members were Vincent Migliazzo, Atwater, CA; Nathan Donnay, Glencoe, MN; Eric Houdek, Caledonia, MN; and Matthew Hanson, Goodridge, MN.  Individually, Migliazzo was 1st overall (by a 5-point margin over teammate Nathan Donnay). Donnay, in turn, was 2nd overall by a 7-point margin over the 3rd individual overall. Houdek was 6th overall, and Hanson was 11th overall.

Also, Migliazzo was 1st in reasons, 1st in Brown Swiss, 1st in Holstein, 1st in Red & White, and 2nd in Jersey. Donnay was 1st in Jersey, 3rd in Holstein, 5th in Milking Shorthorn, 6th in Red & White, and 7th in Brown Swiss. Houdek was 1st in Milking Shorthorn, 2nd in Red & White, 8th in Holstein, and 8th in Jersey, and Hanson was 4th in Red & White, 6th in Jersey, 9th in Guernsey, and 9th in Milking Shorthorn.

Coaches for the University of Minnesota's dairy cattle judging teams are Dr. Les Hansen, Scott Ellinghuysen, and Alicia Thurk. Sixty-nine 4-year collegiate students competed in the contest. 

Team rank (points):  

1. MINNESOTA (2562)
2. UW-Madison (2508)
3. Iowa State (2505)
4. Cornell (2474)
5. UW-River Falls (2464)
6. Virginia Tech (2453)
7. Michigan State (2427)
8. Penn State (2418)
9. UW-Platteville (2397)
10. Cal Poly (2391)
11. Purdue
12. Ohio State
13. Kansas State
14. Illinois
15. North Dakota State
16. South Dakota State
17. Kentucky
18. Zamorano, Honduras
Dairy Judging Team at Madison
First-place collegiate team in the national intercollegiate dairy cattle judging contest at World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI, from the U of M (L-R): Dr. Les Hansen (coach), Alicia Thurk (coach), Scott Ellinghuysen (coach), Matthew Hanson, Eric Houdek, Nathan Donnay, and Vincent Migliazzo.

Gopher Dairy Club Members Awarded 14 of 47 Scholarships Awarded by National Dairy Shrine

Once again in 2015, student members of the Gopher Dairy Club received the largest number of scholarships awarded by the National Dairy Shrine among all universities. Students at the U of M received 14 of the 47 scholarships (30%), and the university next in rank was Penn State with 9 recipients. In total, National Dairy Shrine presented members of the Gopher Dairy Club with $16,000 in scholarships at the organization's annual recognition banquet on October 1, 2015, in conjunction with World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI. Recipients from the U of M:

Student Recognition (Senior Merit)
Michael Schmitt ($1,000)

Junior Merit
Mary Liebenstein ($1,000)

Sophomore Merit
Johanna Knorr ($1,500)
Trevor Otte ($1,000)

Maurice Core (Freshmen Merit)
Gabriella Sorg ($1,000)
Laura Jensen ($1,000)


DMI Milk Marketing & Dairy Products
Johanna Knorr ($1,000)
Jeni Haler ($1,000)    
Crystal Siemers-Peterman ($1,000)

DMI Education & Communication
Christine Reitsma ($1,000)
Annie Culbertson ($1,000)     
Ethan Dado ($1,000)

Annie Culbertson ($1,500)     

McCullough (incoming students)
Morgan Krause ($2,000)

Four U of M Students Compete in Inaugural Meat Judging Contest

Fifty-seven students from 8 universities and colleges competed in the inaugural year of the Hormel National Barrow Show Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest. The American Meat Science Association and Hormel provided a very unique contest that included fresh and processed pork product judging, as well as processed meats defects and a keep/cull scenario for fresh pork specifications.

The U of M was represented by 4 graduate students in Animal Science. Team members were Katie Cottingim, Christina Fehrman, Belinda Huang and Megan Nelson. The team was advised by Dr. Ryan Cox. The team placed 5th in processed meats. Christina Fehrman placed 1st in placings and processed meats, and 2nd overall. Additionally, she placed 9th in fresh pork and 11th in questions. Katie Cottingim placed 6th in processed meats and 12th overall.

Congratulations ladies!

National Barrow Show Meat Judging Team

Above (L-R): Dr. Ryan Cox (Team Adviser), Belinda Huang, Katie Cottingim, Christina Fehrman, and Megan Nelson.

Make a Difference—Give to the Community Fund Drive!

The Community Fund Drive is the University of Minnesota's annual charitable giving campaign that helps to alleviate hunger and homelessness, find cures for diseases, and make higher education more affordable. The goal this year is to raise $1.3 million by November 13. U of M faculty and staff have donated $20.4 million since 1995, and local nonprofits count on your generosity to make a difference.

The Community Fund Drive is an easy way for Twin Cities faculty and staff to donate to local nonprofits, including 7 area federations that represent nearly 500 agencies/charities: Community Health Charities of Minnesota, Community Shares of Minnesota, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Minnesota Environmental Fund, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and the Homeless, United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

Please take a few minutes to pledge today to the Community Fund Drive at www.umn.edu/cfd. Giving at work is fast, easy, and secure. Faculty and staff can donate online or with a paper form and make either a one-time gift or give a little each pay period. Gifts can be made to a federation, an agency/agencies within a federation, an outside charity (501(c)3), or a combination of all of three. Funds raised during the campaign go directly to the organization selected by the employee; however, a portion of the donations are retained by the federation to cover the costs of processing the gift.

Employees who pledge their support are entered to win weekly prizes with a final grand prize drawing in November. Prizes include iPad Mini, Nice Ride membership, gift certificates to local restaurants, and more. Visit the Community Fund Drive website and click "DONATE NOW!".

Community Fund Drive

Apply for MnDRIVE PhD Graduate Assistantship

Applications are now being accepted for the MnDRIVE PhD Graduate Assistantship program of the U of M Informatics Institute. The program is for PhD graduate students currently pursuing research at the U of M at the intersection of informatics and any of the four MnDRIVE areas: Robotics, sensors and advanced manufacturing; Global food ventures; Advancing industry, conserving our environment; and Discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

The program will support up to ten 12-month research assistantships at the level of a 50% graduate research assistantship (departmental rate applies), including tuition for up to 14 credits each semester (fall and spring) and subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan. The assistantship must start no later than June 1, 2016, and can start as early as Spring 2016. Graduate students are expected to have completed their preliminary oral exam by the start of the appointment. The award includes up to $1500 for travel to a conference or research support for the proposed research. A final report of accomplishments is expected after completion of the award.

Applications are due by 5:00 pm on November 13, 2015. Awards will be announced by December 15, 2015. Application instructions and selection criteria can be found online.

MnDRIVE logo

Annual Frenatae Honey Sale

FrenataeFrenatae, the Entomology graduate student organization, is holding their annual sale during the week of December 2-4 from 10:30am to 3:30pm. Frenatae will be selling honey, greeting cards and calendars featuring insect illustrations, candles, silk scarves, and more. Booths will be set up in front of the Natural Resources Library in Hodson Hall and in the St. Paul Student Center (lower level in front of the Post Office).

The club is taking pre-orders for honey bears or 5-pound jugs of honey. Fill out the 2015 Frenatae Pre-Order Form and email it to frenatae@umn.edu or deliver it to the Frenatae mailbox marked "Honey Sale Pre-orders" in 230 Hodson Hall by end of day on November 30. Payments must be received by December 2. Orders will be filled on a first-come/first-serve basis.

For more information, please visit the Frenatae website.

2016 COE Recruitment in Full Swing

Recruitment for the 2016 Center of Excellence Scholarship and Internship Program (COE) is underway as representatives start to attend career fairs to expose students to the benefits of COE.

COE offers strong, research-based poultry science education followed by a paid internship. Dates for the 2016 COE classes are May 16-June 24. 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 you are interested in being a part of COE, please apply here. The COE application is due December 6, 2015. For more information, please view the MPC's Recruitment Brochure or contact MPC at mpc@mwpoultry.org or 651-766-8118.

Center of Excellence logo

♦ Graduate Student Profile ♦

Haley Larson

Haley LarsonHaley Larson is pursuing a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition under the direction of Drs. Marshall Stern and Alfredo DiCostanzo.  Haley's research focuses on the impact of ruminal parameters on the transformation and flow of fatty acids through the rumen. Currently Haley is conducting a study to examine the differences in ruminal parameters affecting omega 3 transformation within the rumen of dairy steers fed grass or grain based diets. Omega 3 fatty acids have benefits to human health and are the reason for the current consumer interest in grass fed animals. Haley's research hopes to gain a further understanding of the ruminal parameters affecting omega 3 fatty acid flows, in turn determining the limitations for increasing the availability of omega 3 FA for meat and milk synthesis in grain-fed animals. This project will lead to further studies using a continuous culture fermenter in vitro system to further narrow the different parameters isolated within this first experiment. Additionally, Haley has done research on testing rumen protected amino acids, effectiveness of direct fed microbial products, biohydrogenation of distillers grains, and the impact of processing on protein quality.

Haley is originally from Rochester, MN. She received her BS degree with summa cum laude honors in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota in May of 2014. During that time, Haley worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Stern's lab, receiving grants from the CRIS-Hatch Program and the UROP program as well as completing additional research for an undergraduate Honors thesis. Haley says it is the time she spent as an undergrad in the lab that inspired her to continue on for her PhD in the fall of 2014. In the future, Haley hopes to be able to inspire other undergraduates to attend graduate school by helping them gain experiences in undergraduate research.

♦ Congratulations ♦

Alyssa Groskopf was recently hired as a part-time student office assistant for Animal Science. She will be located in 305 Haecker Hall and will share responsibilities with Lisa Janak. Alyssa is an Animal Science major (Pre-vet Science and Beef Production emphasis) and a member of the Gopher Dairy Club and Block & Bridle.

Alex Hohertz successfully defended his MS thesis on September 22. His thesis is titled, "Utilizing reduced-oil corn distillers grains with solubles in finishing beef cattle. Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo served as Alex's adviser. Alex is now working in as an Assistant Feedlot Manager for Wulf Cattle in Clark, SD.

Kim Reno accepted a position in the College (CFANS) as an Office Manager. Her last day in Animal Science was October 2, 2015.

♦ Calendar of Events ♦

- October -

1 - Pork Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

7 - Sow Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

5-7 - Extension Program Conference (for Extension educators & specialists), Mall of America Hilton, Bloomington, MN.

12 - 9th Annual Dr. Norman Borlaug Memorial Lecture - "2050: Agriculture's Role in Mitigating Global Challenges" (3:00-5:00pm), St. Paul Student Center Theater. RSVP.

21 - PQA Plus Advisor Training (9:00am-3:00pm), AmericInn, Marshall, MN. Contact: Colleen Carey, MN Pork Board (1-800-537-7675 or colleen@mnpork.com). 

24 - Deer Processing Workshop, Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS), U of M St. Paul Campus. Register online by October 23.

28-31 - National FFA Convention, Louisville, KY.

29 - HACCP Validation Workshop (8:00am-3:00pm), Continuing Education and Conference Center (Room 155), U of M St. Paul Campus. Contact: MAMP, 507-263-2976.

- November -

2-5 - 30th ADSA Discover Conference, "Creating an Enduring U.S. Dairy Production Sector", Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Itasca, IL.

3-20 - North American International Livestock Exposition, Louisville, KY.

4 - Sow Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

11 - PQA Plus & TQA Certification Class (1:00-4:00pm), Minnesota Pork Board Office, Mankato, MN. Contact: Colleen Carey, MN Pork Board (1-800-537-7675 or colleen@mnpork.com). 

19 - Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) Workshop (10:00am-2:00pm), West Central ROC, Morris, MN.

26-27 - University closed (Thanksgiving holiday).

- December -

1-3 - MMPA Dairy Conference & Expo, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud, MN.

3 - Pork Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

11 - PQA Plus & TQA Certification Class (1:00-4:00pm), Heintz Center, Rochester, MN. Contact: Colleen Carey, MN Pork Board (1-800-537-7675 or colleen@mnpork.com). 

24-25 - University closed.

- January 2016 -

6 - Sow Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

18 - University closed (Martin Luther King holiday).

19 - Spring break begins.

27-29 - 118th Annual Cattle Industry Convention & National Cattlemen's Beef Association Trade Show, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.

- February 2016 -

9-11 - World Ag Expo, International Agri-Center, Tulare CA.

16 - Carver County Dairy Expo, Norwood Young America, MN. Contact: Abby Neu, 952-492-5386.

- March 2016 -

15-17 - Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, St. Paul, MN.

17-19 - North American Farm & Power Show, Four Seasons Centre, Owatonna, MN.

- June 2016 -

8-10 - World Pork Expo, Iowa State Fairground, Des Moines, IA.