September 2015

♦ Notes from the Department Head ♦

Dr. Bill DaytonIt's September and summer is coming to an end. The State Fair is over and classes are in full swing. We want to welcome all of our new Freshmen and all of our returning students. We greatly appreciate the contributions they make to our department, college and university.

We are very pleased to announce that as of September 1, Dr. Kota Minegishi, who specializes in Dairy Decision Analytics, and Dr. Christopher Faulk who specializes in Functional Genomics, have joined our department as Assistant Professors. Please check out the articles about them in this newsletter. We are very excited about the scholarship these new assistant professors will provide to our teaching, research and Extension programs.

On a sadder note, Dr. Mohamed El Halawani retired as of July 1. Dr. El Halawani is a nationally and internationally known and respected researcher working in the area of avian physiology and endocrinology. He is particularly known for his research focusing on reproductive problems in turkeys. Mohamed's research and teaching contributions to the department will be greatly missed and we wish him the best of luck in his future activities.

Our departmental strategic planning process is nearing completion. We have identified 5-year goals and we are now working on an annual work plan that provides specific steps that we will take in the next year to begin to achieve these goals. Through this process we have identified a significant number of new initiatives that we believe will positively impact both students and stakeholders.

One of the goals identified in our strategic plan is to increase the online course offerings in Animal Science. This has already begun. We currently are offering Backyard Chickens – Science and Practice, Companion Animal Nutrition and Care, Historical Influence of the Horse on Society, Horse Management, and Swine Nutrition online. The response from students has been very positive. Consequently, we are planning to add additional online courses in the areas of animal behavior and animal welfare. We believe these additions will benefit not only Animal Science students but also non-Animal Science students who would like to increase their knowledge of animals.

We are looking forward to the academic year and all the opportunities and challenges that it brings. Thanks for your support of the Department and our programs. You and the students make it all worthwhile.

Wishing you all the best.

Dr. William R. Dayton
Department Head

♦ Teaching Highlights ♦

New Faculty Members

Chris FaulkDr. Christopher Faulk joins the faculty of the Department of Animal Science as Assistant Professor of Functional Genomics. His lab will focus on epigenetics, evolution, and how early life environment modifies life course gene expression. Originally from the Deep South in Louisiana, Chris earned a BA in English literature from Louisiana State University and then worked at Pennington Biomedical Research Center as a bioinformatician before attending LSU for his PhD in biological science. In 2011, he moved to the University of Michigan as a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health before joining Animal Science at the U of M.

The goals of Dr. Faulk's research are to identify environmentally induced epigenetic changes arising from environmental, dietary, or toxicological exposure in early development that result in lifelong health consequences. His strategy is to leverage the tools of evolutionary genomics, molecular genetics, and bioinformatics to discover interindividual differences independent of underlying genetic polymorphisms. His research is multi-level, traversing from the molecular level, to whole organisms (human and mouse), through to human epidemiology and comparative genomics. Dr. Faulk's lab will encompass the fields of interspecies epigenetic evolution, nutrition, and toxicant induced shifts to regions of heightened epigenetic sensitivity.

In 2013, Dr. Faulk was awarded an NIH K99/R00 grant funding entitled, "The Environment and Epigenome: Interplay of Toxicants and Transposons in Mammals". This grant allows him to establish his lab and explore several areas where the environment impacts the epigenome. Unlike most epigenetics groups, Dr. Faulk's research incorporates deep study of transposable elements, as these "genomic parasites" often host regions of environmentally labile chromatin modifications.

Dr. Faulk has developed a strong network of collaboration with several groups including Dr. Dolinoy at the University of Michigan who uses the Agouti mouse as a biosensor. Dr. Faulk continues to work with Drs. Kim, Donze and Batzer at LSU studying primate evolution, DNA binding protein function, and gene control in yeast. As an assistant professor of Functional Genomics, his goal at the U of M will be to provide a unifying theme to environment, genetic polymorphisms, and gene regulation underlying animal phenotypes.

Kota MinegishiDr. Kota Minegishi currently serves as Dairy Analytics Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science with a 60% extension and 40% research appointment.

Prior to his current position at the U of M, Dr. Minegishi worked at the World Bank as a consultant in projects on agricultural productivity and policy issues in Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He received his BA in economics and BS in mathematics from California State University, Chico in 2007, and his PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014. His dissertation research focused on comparing confinement dairies and management-intensive (rotational) grazing dairies on technological growth, production risks, and input substitutions. Upon his graduation, the research earned him the Dissertation Excellence Award of 2014 from his department.

The focus of Dr. Minegishi's extension programing is to assist decision-making of dairy producers in Minnesota. Currently, he is focusing on developing decision support tools for dairy producers to access their economic well-being or simulate economic gains/losses from changes in their operations and market environments. The idea is to apply his expertise in production economics to the available economic data of agricultural markets and dairy operations from various sources in ways that make the data relevant, accessible and useful to dairy producers. Kota plans to develop a rich set of decision-making tools by collaborating with other Animal Science faculty, Extension educators, and dairy industry professionals in their areas of expertise. With the help of technology, those tools can be integrated into interactive online applications where dairy producers can analyze economic implications of alternative choices in their operation or enhance their economic understanding of emerging practices of a dairy operation.

As Dr. Minegishi's dissertation research moves through the publication process, he is finding ways to expand those ideas. The broader scope of his research is to develop new platforms in production economics that better accommodate interdisciplinary approaches. Interdisciplinary research tends to demand highly pragmatic solutions given the real-world constraints suggested from various perspectives. This provides opportunities to close the gap in knowledge for advancing agriculture between economists and non-economists, including scientists, extension educators, producers, consumers, and policy-makers.    

Kota grew up in a typical countryside town in Japan where his grandparents and other generations are farmers. His grandparents were pear and rice farmers, and his parents are also linked to agriculture working as an Extension agent and a horticultural scientist. After high school, Kota went to a 1-year language school in Tokyo and then started college in California. In his free time, he enjoys jogging, camping, backpacking, skiing, and horseback riding.


Marshall SternProfessor Marshall D. Stern attended the INNOVATE 2015 Conference on Innovations in Education: An Animal Science Curriculum for the 21st Century on May 31 to June 2, 2015 in Braselton, GA. The conference addressed the Animal Science curriculum, the core of a student's college experience and the means by which undergraduates are prepared for the world after graduation. The conference focused on "what" is taught as part of an Animal Science curriculum as well as "how" it is taught. With this in mind, Professor Stern presented two interactive E-Posters entitled "Teaching Companion Animal Nutrition and Care in the Classroom Concurrently with an Online Section of the Course" and "Teaching a Course on Companion Animal Ethical Issues Using Classroom Debates as an Interactive Learning Tool". ​Both posters were well received and as a result Dr. Stern has been invited to present upcoming seminars at Rutgers University and Iowa State University on the scholarship of teaching and creative teaching strategies.

Stern was recently recognized as one of the top 20 outstanding animal science professors (read more about it here). Congratulations, Marshall! 

♦ News & Announcements ♦

Dr. El Halawani Retires

Dr. Mohamed El HalawaniAfter a career spanning 46 years at the U of M, Department of Animal Science, Professor Mohamed El Halawani retired July 1, 2015. Dr. El Halawani received his PhD in physiology at the University of California, Davis and came to the U of M in 1969 as a research fellow in the Department of Animal Science where he went on to hold research and teaching positions. He has been a professor in the department since 1985.

Dr. El Halawani's research focused on turkey production. He identified an important problem (low egg production) affecting the turkey industry early on in his career. His quest for a solution and his scientific versatility led him to develop expertise in molecular biology, neuroendocrinology, and immunology. His research established that, in contrast to other poultry species like the chicken, the domestic turkey has retained some characteristics of its ancestors, the wild turkey, whose reproductive function is seasonal and limited to long photoperiod. Wild birds and domestic turkeys eventually become photorefractory to the long days and cease reproductive function; hence fewer eggs per hen unlike the continuous laying chicken. His work has focused on the neuroendocrine control of this seasonal reproductive function, describing a key photoreceptive hypothalamic nucleus involved in photoreception and delineating the mechanisms of photorefractoriness. He conducted both basic and applied research that has provided the foundation for recommended lighting programs for turkey breeder hens and he also contributed an understanding of stress physiology (heat stress) in turkeys. Ultimately, his work had provided applicable solutions for the turkey breeder industry and has implications for seasonality in wild birds inhabiting the temperate regions of the earth

Dr. El Halawani is a leader in his field and has achieved widespread national and international recognition for his achievements. He has received many awards in recognition of his contributions to poultry research including: Merck Award for Achievement in Poultry Research, National Turkey Federation Research Enhancement Award, and the Ranelius Award for Contributions, Leadership, and Service to Minnesota Turkey Industry. He has been invited to participate in national and international symposia that reflect the importance of his research for domesticated and wild avian species including: International Symposium on Avian Endocrinology, International Symposium of Comparative Endocrinology, International Symposium on Comparative Endocrinology, the Gordon Conference on Prolactin, the European Poultry Conference, the World's Poultry Congress, and the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction.

Dr. El Halawani taught animal science courses in physiology and advised 13 MS students and 11 PhD students to completion of their degrees.

Ponce de León Receives Fulbright Grant

Dr. Abel Ponce de León was selected for a Fulbright Specialist Grant in Agriculture by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. The Fulbright Specialist Program awards grants to U.S. scholars and professionals to engage in short-term, collaborative projects at institutions in over 140 countries worldwide.

Dr. Ponce de León traveled to the National Agrarian University la Molina in Peru to help develop an Alpaca genomics research project, teach an Animal Genomics and Bioinformatics graduate course and present seminars to faculty and animal industry leaders on advances in animal genomics.

As a Fulbright Specialist, Dr. Ponce de León ranks among distinguished scholars and professionals worldwide who are recognized as leaders in the educational, political, economic, social, and cultural lives of their countries.

Abel represents the U.S. in demonstrating the qualities of excellence and leadership of this respected international academic exchange program which was founded by the U.S. government in 1946.  

Dr. Jerry ShursonShurson in the News

In the 15 years that he has been traveling to foreign countries with the U.S. Grains Council to promote distillers grains and now distillers corn oil (DCO), Dr. Jerry Shurson says one of the most frequently asked questions is, how stable is distillers grains?  Shurson, a Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the U of M, says it comes up in particular in southeast Asia, where customers want to know if the oil in distillers grains and DCO will go rancid in transport or storage. Read the full story, "Creating a Quality Image", in Ethanol Producer.

Hog farmers around the globe are benefiting from AURI-funded research on feeding distillers grains, an important ethanol co-product. Read about swine feed trials at the U of M and the research that Dr. Jerry Shurson and other researchers have been working on in the AURI news article, "More DDGS, Please".

Dr. Krishona MartinsonMartinson Elected to ESS Board

Dr. Krishona Martinson, Equine Extension Specialist, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Equine Science Society (ESS) at their annual meeting in Florida this past May. Dr. Martinson will serve a 6-year term on the board. Congratulations, Krishona!

Also elected to the Board of Directors was Dr. Amy Burk from the University of Maryland.

Get ready Minnesota! Krishona made a successful bid to host the annual ESS meeting here at the U of M in 2017.

Crabo Honored as Doctor Jubilaris

Dr. Bo Crabo, an Animal Science professor emeriti, will be conferred to "Doctor Jubilaris" ("Jubeldoktor" in Swedish) by his alma mater, the Royal Veterinary College, which is now the Swedish Agricultural University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. This honor also marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Crabo's disputation in 1965. His thesis titled "Studies on the composition of epididymal contents in bulls and boars" was published as Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, Vol. 6, Suppl. 5, pp. 1-94.

A ceremony will take place on October 3, 2015 in conjunction with the annual conferment ceremony of doctors and honorary doctors at the Swedish Agricultural University followed by a banquet in at the Uppsala Castle, a 16th century royal castle in Uppsala, Sweden. Dr. Crabo and his wife, Margareta, will be in attendance along with other family members.

Dr. Crabo was an associate professor of clinical chemistry at the Royal Veterinary College before joining the faculty at the U of M in 1971. He retired from the U of M in 2000. Bo currently lives in Cave Creek, AZ.

Trudeau Receives MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Fellowship

Michaela Trudeau was one of seven graduate students from CFANS and the College of Veterinary Medicine to be awarded MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Graduate Fellowships for 2015-2016. MnDRIVE is a landmark partnership between the university and the state of Minnesota that aligns areas of university strength with the state's key and emerging industries to advance new discoveries that address grand challenges.

Michaela's research addresses some serious issues related to swine production aligning well with MnDRIVE initiatives. During the course of the fellowship, Michaela will participate in activities designed to help build her skills in communications and problem solving as well as continuing her research project titled, "Effect on growth performance and virus resistance of SDPP replacements in antibiotic free feeding programs for pigs".

Michaela is advised by Drs. Jerry Shurson and Pedro Urriola.

CFANS Alumnus Appointed Director of Extension at Purdue

Dr. Michael (Mike) Schutz was appointed Director of Purdue Extension's agriculture and natural resources programs in Indiana this past June. In his new position, Mike will oversee programs in farm management and safety, livestock, crops, energy, youth in agriculture, and environmental stewardship and wildlife. Mike also is a Professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue University and serves as Associate Head of the Department of Animal Sciences. In addition to dairy management, he has expertise in animal breeding and genetics.

Mike is an alumnus of CFANS with majors in Animal Science for both the BS and MS degrees. He was a founding member of the Gopher Dairy Club and a member of the U's dairy cattle judging team. He received the BS degree in 1984 and the MS degree in 1988, and Dr. Les Hansen served as his academic adviser for both degrees. Mike received the PhD degree from Iowa State University in Animal Breeding.

Read more about Mike in the news release at Purdue University News.

U of M Students Attend Midwest Poultry Consortium (MPC)

Two students from the U of M (Chou Chang and Michaela Olson, also members of the Gopher Poultry Science Club) received scholarships to attend the 2015 summer session at UW-Madison as part of the MPC-Center of Excellence program (COE). They earned course credits in avian physiology, poultry hatchery and breeder management, and poultry products. Each also completed an industry internship.

Chou Chang interned with MacFarlane Pheasants in Janesville, WI. He worked in various parts of the operation learning about pheasant production. Michaela Olson took an internship with Willmar Poultry Company in Willmar, MN. There she shadowed a company veterinarian and worked extensively in the diagnostic laboratory on poult necropsy and running microbial samples. She also spent time at the hatchery, attending servicemen meetings, conducting farm audits, and working on a research and development project concerning dehydration in turkey poults.

Applications for the 2016 COE summer session are due by December 6, 2015. Application information and information about the program can be located at Midwest Poultry Consortium-COE website.

Chou Chang & Michaela Olson
Above: Chou Chang and Michaela Olson at the Midwest Poultry Consortium Banquet (June 2015).

Gopher Poultry Science Club Update

Member Updates

Divek VT Nair, a doctoral student supervised by Dr. Johny, presented his research at the annual meetings of the Institute of Feed Technologists and Poultry Science Association. He also won the Love for Learning Scholarship from Phi Kapp Phi this year.

At the end of spring semester, the Gopher Poultry Science Club held new officer elections. Michaela Olson, Rachel Kircher, Tatum Odland, Divek Nair and Jennifer Hagen were elected to the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations, respectively. Those members who graduated include past President Paige Lemke, past Secretary Chelsea Staples, and past Treasurer Deanna Scheller. We wish them the best in their future careers. 

Club members who participated in internships over the summer include:

  • Vuong Vu, who is interning in Dr. Sally Noll's Turkey Nutrition Research Laboratory and at the Turkey Research Unit at Rosemount, MN. There he is gaining skills and training in laboratory techniques, care and management of turkeys used in research projects, and experience with poultry housing and equipment.
  • Tatum Odland is conducting her UROP research in Dr. Johny's Poultry Safety Laboratory investigating the use of beneficial microbes on controlling antibiotic resistant Salmonella.
  • Jennifer Hagen is interning with Dr. Johny.

Undergraduate Student Recognition – GPSC Members

Chelsea Staples received a 2015 U of M Outstanding Student Employee Award. The Turkey Nutrition Laboratory will miss her greatly following her graduation!  

Michaela Olson is the second recipient of the CFANS Carl Stromberg Memorial Scholarship, an endowed scholarship to honor the memory of its namesake and to support students who share Stromberg's passion for poultry. Congratulations to Michaela!

What is the Gopher Poultry Science Club?

The Gopher Poultry Science Club is a student run campus club, open to all students and staff with an interest in poultry. The club is dedicated to connecting students interested in poultry with industry representatives, organizations, and opportunities. Our first meeting will be coming up soon! Stay connected to learn when and where. New members are always welcome! 

Follow us on Facebook! University of Minnesota Gopher Poultry Science Club 

Check out our website:

Email us with questions:

Poultry students making omelets
Above: Gopher Poultry Science Club members have fun making omelets.

Gopher Dairy Club Awards $21,500 to New Students for 2015-16

Annually, the Gopher Dairy Club presents monetary awards on a competitive basis to new students. Income from the Gopher Dairy Bar, which the club manages during the Minnesota State Fair, allows this financial support of new students based on the applications that are submitted to the club.

The highest ranking individual receives the Douglas Siem Memorial Award of $2,000, and 13 other recipients of $1,500 were selected for 2015-16. They are:

$2,000 Douglas Siem Memorial Award:

Trent Dado, Amery, WI - son of Rick & Gwen Dado

$1,500 Awards:

Jordan Agrimson, Peterson, MN - son of Steve & Lanita Agrimson
Jax Bauer, Hayfield, MN - son of Tony & Paula (Hinckley) Bauer
Jake Borst, Rochester, MN - son of Matt & Julie Borst
Chase DeFrang, Plainview, MN - son of Kris & Kim (Rott) DeFrang
Alyssa Ellinghuysen, Altura, MN - daughter of Scott & Sue (Grass) Ellinghuysen
Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN - daughter of Matt & Pam (Hosfield) Hendel
Morgan Krause, Buffalo, MN - daughter of Charles & Robyn Krause
Kyle Lawstuen, Lanesboro, MN - son of Dave & Debbie Lawstuen
Haely Leiding, Fountain, MN - daughter of Todd & Stacy (Fingerson) Leiding
Kayla Leiding, Fountain, MN - daughter of Todd & Stacy (Fingerson) Leiding
Julia Nunes, Chippewa Falls, WI - daughter of Matt & Mandy Nunes
Joe Ramstad, Forest Lake, MN - son of Jane Ramstad
Brooke Roberts, Whitelaw, WI - daughter of Keith & Beth Roberts

U of M Students Shine in MN and WI State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contests

Gabriella Sorg was the high (1st) individual overall as well as in oral reasons in the Minnesota state 4-H dairy cattle judging contest, which was held on September 6, 2015 at the Minnesota State Fair. Golden Gophers placing among the top individuals were:

1st - Gabriella Sorg (Hastings, MN)
4th - Kayla Leiding (Fountain, MN)
7th - Austin Schmitt (Rice, MN)
9th - Haely Leiding (Fountain, MN)
16th - Lauren Hendel (Caledonia, MN)

Sorg and Schmitt are sophomores, and the Leiding sisters and Hendel are freshmen in CFANS.

On July 20, the Wisconsin state 4-H dairy cattle judging contest was held in Marshfield, WI. Two U of M freshmen placed among the top individuals in that state contest:

3rd - Brooke Roberts (Whitelaw, WI)
7th - Krista Styer (Menomonie, WI)

Sorg and Schmitt will represent Minnesota 4-H and Roberts will represent Wisconsin 4-H on November 8 in the 4-H dairy cattle judging contest hosted by the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY. Styer was a member of the 1st place team overall in the Wisconsin state contest, and she will be representing Wisconsin 4-H in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest on September 28 during World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI.

Top Three in 4-H Dairy Showcase at Minnesota State Fair are U of M Students

Minnesota 4-H and the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association annually recognizes the top 25 dairy cattle exhibitors at the Minnesota State Fair. The 4-H exhibitors must receive a purple or blue ribbon on their animal in its respective class to be eligible. The exhibitors must also complete an online leadership profile to earn points based on their leadership, dairy-related activities, and community involvement. The scorecard also awards extra points for participation and success in dairy cattle judging, dairy quiz bowl, showmanship, and interviews. Bonus points are awarded for receiving champion and reserve champion honors. The top 25 were recognized on August 30, 2015 in the AgStar Arena during the Minnesota State Fair.

The top three recipients for 2015 are all CFANS students. First overall was Kayla Leiding, Fountain, MN, who is the daughter of Todd and Stacy Leiding, 2nd overall was Gabriella Sorg, Hastings, MN, who is the daughter of Bill and Juanita Sorg, and 3rd overall was Lauren Hendel, Caledonia, MN, who is the daughter of Matt and Pam Hendel. Interestingly, all six parents are alumni of the U of M.

Leiding received a cash award of $3,500 donated by the Gopher Dairy Club at the U of M, Sorg received $3,200 donated by AgStar Financial Services, and Hendel received $3,000 donated by Grain Millers Dairy Products. In total, more than $45,000 was contributed by donors and awarded to the 25 recipients, which all received a cash award of at least $1,000.

Kayla Leiding with Mary Liebenstein
1st and awarded $3,500 was Kayla Leiding (left) with Mary Liebenstein, President of the Gopher Dairy Club, which was the donor.

Gabriella Sorg with Nick Reps
2nd and awarded $3,200 was Gabriella Sorg (left) with Nick Reps, CFANS alumnus, representing donor AgStar Financial Services.

Lauren Hendel with Sarah Schmidt
3rd and awarded $3,000 was Lauren Hendel (left) with Sarah Schmidt, CFANS alumnus representing the coordinating committee for the 4-H Dairy Showcase.

Meat Science News

U of M Extension Hosts Delegation from People's Republic of China

A 6-person delegation traveled from the People's Republic of China in August to participate in a 10-day training program focused on meat and animal production in the U.S. In cooperation with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Scientific Cooperation and Exchange Program, U of M Extension hosted the SCEP China Meats Processing Team. The program took place in August at several locations across the U.S. including Minnesota. The program was initiated by Dr. John Vreyens, Director of Global Initiatives for U of M Extension, and included development of the American host team in Minnesota. Dr. Ryan Cox, U of M Extension Meat Specialist, also was involved in the program development as well as in-person group leadership. Learn more about the program and the places the delegates visited here.

U of M Meat Science & MAMP Host State Fair Processed Meats Championship

The Minnesota State Fair Processed Meats Championship contest was held on August 26, 2015 at the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science (ABLMS) on the U of M St. Paul Campus. The top 4 products in each class are displayed with their ribbon and plant name for the duration of the State Fair in the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors' (MAMP) booth. The champions of the Cooked Summer Sausage, Snack Sticks, Bacon, and Specialty Smoked Sausage categories are noted here.

Meat Science Students Attend National Meetings

U of M Meat Science students and Dr. Ryan Cox, U of M Extension Meat Specialist, attended the Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) held June 13-17, 2015 in Lincoln, NE. RMC is a national scientific meeting for meat science covering topics from the latest scientific findings to communicating with consumers, and is attended by university students and faculty, industry professionals and international scientists. Megan Nelson, MS student at the U of M, presented her research at the meeting as part of the graduate student poster showcase. Six U of M students (Allie Hawkins, A.J. Hasslen, Jordan Juckel, Nicole O'Seell, Emma Penzenstadler, Christina Fehrman) competed in the Iron Chef competition. Allie, A.J., Jordan, Nicole and Emma also competed in the Undergraduate Quiz Bowl. Read more about meeting and the trip here.

Meat Science to Present Deer Processing Workshop in October

The U of M Meat Science Deer Processing Workshop on October 24, 2015 will focus on hands-on demonstrations of all aspects of venison processing, from field dressing deer, to carcass fabrication, further processing, food safety, and cookery methods. In addition to viewing live demonstrations, attendees will have the opportunity to participate first-hand in the fabrication of fresh venison products. The agenda includes:

  • Field Dressing - In-person demonstration with Dr. Ryan Cox & Tristan McNamara, U of M Meat Science
  • Proper Knife Maintenance and Sharpening - Dr. Ryan Cox
  • Carcass Fabrication - Hands-on experience for workshop participants, supervised by U of M Meat Science 
  • Sausage and Jerky - In-person demonstration with Dr. Ryan Cox and Tristan McNamara
  • Food Safety in the Field and Home - Carissa Nath, Agriculture Utilization Research Institute
  • Culinary Applications for Venison - A demonstration followed by product tasting with Scott Pampuch, District Executive Chef, U of M

The Deer Processing Workshop will be held in the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science (ABLMS) on the U of M St. Paul Campus. The registration fee of $125 per person includes lunch, workshop binder with all presented material, Minnesota Meat Science hat, refreshments throughout the workshop, and access to industry and academic professionals. Registration is limited to 30 participants. Register online by October 23, 2015 here. For further information, please contact Dr. Ryan Cox (612-624-3063 or

HACCP Validation Workshop to be Held on St. Paul Campus

The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), in partnership with the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors (MAMP) and U of M Meat Science, is offering a 1-day HACCP Validation Workshop to help independent processors understand and meet the requirements of regulations. AAMP is presenting this workshop as a unique experience to aid members in the latest regulatory compliance issue and to offer exclusive AAMP resources that can be used by any establishment to validate their food safety systems.

The workshop will be held on October 29, 2015 in the Continuing Education and Conference Center (Room 155) on the U of M St. Paul Campus. The program will include:

  • A Review of the Regulatory Requirements and the FSIS Guidance Document
    What is expected of establishments to validate their HACCP Plans?
  • AAMP's Approach to Validation
    Learn the application of the FSIS Guidance Document. Learn to utilize AAMP's resources in your establishment.
  • HACCP Validation In-Plant Documentation
    Beef slaughter. Fully cooked, not shelf stable. Raw, ground meat and poultry products.
  • Interpretation of the Data
    What to do with the data you collect.

The AAMP member fee is $50. Not a member of AAMP? The fee to non-members is $250, which includes a 1-year membership in AAMP. Lunch and refreshments during breaks are included in the cost of the workshop. To register, please contact the MAMP office at 507-263-2976. General information about the conference center can be found here. Find directions and parking information here.

Register for CSIA Workshop

Are you and your farm ready for an on-farm audit?  Plan to attend one of the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) workshops to get prepared for an on-farm audit. U of M Swine Extension partnered with the Minnesota Pork Board to offer three free workshops to you get prepared for the CSIA, the first of which was held on September 18. The workshop will go through the 89 questions of the audit tool, which includes records, documents, and SOPs that need to be available for the audit. Attendees will be provided with a binder and a flash drive, including customizable audit materials for their farms.

Two remaining workshop dates and locations:

  • September 25 - Regional Extension Office, 1527 Prairie Drive, Worthington, MN
  • November 19 - West Central Research & Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy 329, Morris, MN

 All workshops will be held from 10:00am-2:00pm. Attendees should bring a laptop computer to work on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during the workshop. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required.  Register online or contact Sarah Schieck (320-235-0726 ext. 2004) to register.

Check Out the New Websites!

The Department of Animal Science website has been converted to a new system with a new look. It is a work in progress as we continue to convert additional pages, add new content, search for broken links, etc. The URL remains the same:

The Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) and the Biodiesel Feeds sites have been combined into one new site, Biofuels Co-Products in Feeds. This new site is THE place for the most current information on the evaluation and limitations of feeding biofuels co-products to livestock and poultry.

The Gopher Dairy Club and Block & Bridle each have their owns sites now independent from the Animal Science Department site.

In addition, the following Animal Science-related websites also have been converted:

  • Software Tools for Animal Gene Mapping - software tools designed for mapping of genomes
  • Poultry U - everything about poultry - we are working on updating the links in this new site
  • Dairy Diagnostics Toolbox - to support dairy diagnostic team professionals in the analysis of a dairy farm business
  • Quality Count$ - worksheets, factsheets, spreadsheets and additional resources to help in improving milk quality and lowering SCC

We hope you find these sites informative, useful, and easy to navigate. Suggestions are welcome! Please send suggestions and report errors or broken links to Bonnie Rae (

Order Your Animal Science Wearables!

The Animal Sciences Graduate Club is now selling Animal Science Department wearables as a fundraiser for the club. Funds from clothing sales will provide the club with more opportunities for social activities and help bring back its community service aspect.

Currently the catalog includes t-shirts ($10), sweatshirts ($25), jackets ($50), and hats ($16). Feel free to suggest additional items for the catalog. Place your order by September 30th. Direct questions and submit orders to the Graduate Club President, Brittany Shonka (

View the Catalog / Download the Order Form

♦ Condolences ♦

William E. (Bill) Rempel

Dr. William E. (Bill) Rempel, U of M Professor Emeritus, passed away on August 1, 2015, at the age of 94. Bill was born in 1921 on a farm near the village of Lowe Farm, Manitoba, Canada. He earned a BSA degree in 1944 and MSc in 1946 from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD from the U of M. Bill worked at the U of M in the College of Agriculture, for 44 years, 9 months (1948-1992); first as a graduate student and later as a professor with many students over the years.

During his tenure, Bill conducted research with pigs working on one project for 25 years. He developed miniature pigs for medical research and was the project leader. His last involvement was with 4-5 other staff members to detect the cause of malignant hyperthermia. They discovered the gene in muscles that causes death under an anesthetic.

Bill had a good sense of humor. He was adored and respected by many. He enjoyed gardening and often brought in his peonies to share with the staff and faculty in the Department of Animal Science.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Margarita Rempel, nine siblings and six half-siblings. He is survived by his wife Leola of 66-1/2 years, son, R. Barrie (Beverly), Bonnie G. Manual (Victor) of Montana, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews in Canada, and many dear friends. Bill's wish was to be cremated and no funeral service. Memorials may be sent to the Red Cross, in loving memory of a great man. See the full obituary.

Mark McCulley

Mark McCulley of Maple Plain, MN passed away after a farm accident on July 21, 2015. He was 62 years of age.

Mark earned an agricultural degree from the U of M in 1974 where he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. After college, Mark joined his father in the family business, a progressive and successful farming operation that raised turkeys, swine, beef cattle, corn and soybeans. A member of Farm Bureau, he held many leadership positions within the farm community including past President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Mark is preceded in death by parents Douglas and Merna McCulley, and survived by 3 sisters, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and many beloved friends. A celebration of life was held on August 1st in Maple Plain. Memorials preferred to First Presbyterian Church of Maple Plain's youth programs. See the full obituary.

♦ Graduate Student Profile ♦

Lee KloecknerLee Kloeckner

Lee Kloeckner is pursuing a MS in Animal Science focusing on dairy feeding management; he is advised by Dr. Marcia Endres. Lee is working on an observational study that will evaluate 100 Minnesota dairies for risk factors associated with feed cost per cwt of milk. The study started in May and is expected to finish this winter.

Lee grew up on a hog farm in southeast Minnesota and began working on a dairy farm at the age of 14. He majored in Animal Science at the U of M where he was a member of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity, Gopher Dairy Club, and Block & Bridle Club. He also participated in the Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon and the Dairy Challenge Academy.

In his spare time, Lee enjoys spending time outdoors, camping, hiking, golfing, and going back home to help out on the farm.

♦ Congratulations ♦

Amanda Grev was successful in defending her MS thesis on May 13, 2015. Her thesis title is "Maximizing equine forage utilization through reduction of hay waste and grazing alternative pasture species". She is now working on a PhD here at the U of M. Dr. Krishona Martinson served as Amanda's MS adviser and will continue as her PhD program adviser.

Amy Hazel was married to Nick Loeschke on August 8, 2015. Nick is a global sales and service rep at BanKoe Systems in Bloomington, MN. View wedding photo here.

Crystal Langeberg, husband Andy and son Logan (2 years) welcomed Mason David (8 lb, 3.2 oz) to their family on July 18, 2015. Crystal has been on leave since Mason's birth and will return in October. View photo of Mason here.

Dayane Lobão da Silva successfully defended her PhD thesis on May 22, 2015. Her thesis is titled "Using direct fed microbials and exogenous fibrolytic enzymes to enhance fiber digestibility of dairy cow diets". Drs. Noah Litherland and Marcia Endres served as Dayane's advisers. She is now working at a Nutritionist at Form-A-Feed.

Daniela Neiva Liboreiro successfully defended her MS thesis on June 29, 2015. Daniela's thesis is titled "Characterization of peripartum rumination and activity of cows diagnosed with health disorders postpartum". She was advised by Drs. Ricardo Chebel and Marcia Endres. Daniela recently moved back to her home country of Brazil.

Isaac Salfer was successful in defending his MS thesis on August 18, 2015. The title of his thesis is "Effects of iso-alpha-acids on rumen fermentation and comparison of microbial populations between rumens and continuous culture fermenters". He was advised by Dr. Marshall Stern. Isaac is now working on a PhD at Penn State University with Dr. Kevin Harvatine.

Brittany Shonka was married to Caleb Martin in their hometown of Independence, IA, on August 15, 2015. Caleb is working as a loan officer at CenBank in Ortonville, MN.

Lucas Sjostrom was successful in defending his MS thesis on September 4, 2015. His thesis is titled "Alternative housing and management for organic dairy production". Dr. Brad Heins served as Lucas' adviser. Lucas is currently working as an Assistant Editor for Dairy Herd Management magazine and he is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Redhead Creamery, a cheese plant business that he and his wife own.

Fangzhou (Arkin) Wu successfully defended his MS thesis on July 6, 2015. The title of his thesis is "Growth performance, carcass composition, and pork fat quality of growing-finishing pigs fed distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) with variable oil and energy contents, and prediction of metabolizable and net energy". Drs. Jerry Shurson and Pedro Urriola served as Arkin's advisers. Arkin is currently pursuing a PhD at Kansas State University.

♦ Calendar of Events ♦

- September -

15 - Dairy Outlook-2016 & MPP Workshop (10:00am), Pizza Ranch, Slayton, MN. Contact: Minnesota Milk, 1-877-577-0741.

15-17 - AFIA Liquid Feed Symposium, The Depot Renaissance Hotel, 225 3rd Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN. Contact: AFIA, 703-558-3573.

16 - Dairy Outlook-2016 & MPP Workshop (10:00am), Community Center, Freeport, MN. Contact: Minnesota Milk, 1-877-577-0741.

16 - CFANS Picnic on the Plaza & Resource Fair (11:30am-1:00pm), Ruttan Hall Outdoor Plaza, St. Paul Campus.

16-17 - 76th Minnesota Nutrition Conference, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, MN.

17 - Dairy Outlook-2016 & MPP Workshop (10:00am), Lakeside Golf Club, Perham, MN. Contact: Minnesota Milk, 1-877-577-0741.

18 - Ag Education/Ag Communication & Marketing Sneak Preview (8:30am-12:00pm), U of M St. Paul Campus.

18 - Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) Workshop (10:00am-2:00pm), Minnesota Pork Board Office, Mankato, MN.

19 - 3rd Annual Celebrate Ag & Food Day (11:00am), TCF Bank Stadium.

19 - U of M Alumni Day of Service (nationwide event).

19-22 - Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, Saint Paul River Centre, St. Paul, MN.

20-26 - Gopher Homecoming / Celebrate Homecoming with CFANS.

25 - Dairy Outlook-2016 & MPP Workshop (10:00am), Rochester Golf & Country Club, Rochester, MN. Contact: Minnesota Milk, 1-877-577-0741.

25 - Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) Workshop (10:00am-2:00pm), Regional Extension Office, Worthington, MN.

29-Oct 3 - World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI.

30 - St. Paul Campus Job & Internship Fair (10:00am-3:00pm), North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center.

- 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 

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

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 -

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 

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

26-27 - University closed (Thanksgiving holiday).

- December -

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 

24-25 - University closed.

- January 2016-

6 - Sow Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

18 - University closed (Martin Luther King holiday).

19 - Spring break begins.