Oct. 2, 2013—The Virginia Tech Dairy Judging Team took top honors at the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest on Monday, September 30. When the dust settled, the VT team held the overall team title, was first in team reasons, and held numerous individual placings.
The team's outstanding performance was underscored by the three VT All-American individuals: senior Mandi Ramsburg who placed 1st overall individually, followed by sophomore Lizzie Davis and senior Mackenzie Moore who placed 2nd and 5th, respectively.
Additional highlights include Virginia Tech freshman Cassidy Schirmer, who is a member of the Maryland 4-H team. Maryland won the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest - with a one point margin of victory!
And, freshman Cara Woloohjian (RI) showed her cow Wee Acres Spider Clara Bell to first place in her class, then Senior and Grand Champion of the junior show (best Guernsey cow in the US owned by a youth) and THEN Senior and Grand Champion of the OPEN show. Best Guernsey cow in the US!
September 10, 2013–The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution on Monday accepting design plans to replace the existing dairy complex on Southgate Drive with new, state-of-the-art facilities at nearby Kentland Farm, a move that ensures the long-term success of the university’s award-winning dairy science program.
The plan calls for a replacement of existing buildings on a 35-acre site that can accommodate a fully functioning lactating herd of 230 and takes advantage of Kentland Farm’s proximity to feed production and grazing lands, among other things.
“This new, modern dairy complex will strategically fill our mission goals of education, research, and Extension,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This is a great opportunity, not only for the students who will get a hands-on education about dairy science and the scientists conducting research at the new complex, but also for the dairy industry which relies on the applied knowledge that the university provides.”
August 1, 2013 — The Dairy Science Department is pleased to welcome Dr. B Gonzalo Ferreira as our new dairy management extension specialist. Dr. Ferreira is from Lincoln, Argentina where he has been an extension professional and dairy business consultant working with approximately 30 dairies since 2008. Prior to that he was a regional leader for ruminant species in Latin America for DSM Nutritional Products. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his B.S. from the Catholic University in Buenos Aires. His research in graduate school involved the nutrient evaluation of corn silage and the influence of biotin on metabolism of dairy cattle. He has served as an invited lecturer on dairy nutrition at the University of Buenos Aires and the Catholic University of Argentina and as a teaching assistant at both Ohio State and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Ferreira brings a wealth of experience to our department from his excellent graduate education, industry experience with DSM and extensive consulting experience with dairy producers in Argentina. He will provide leadership in development of financial management and decision making tools for dairy producers. Dr. Ferreira will be traveling extensively through the state during the next few months to gain a better appreciation of our dairy industry and the challenges that it faces.
July 26, 2013 — Congratulations to three very talented graduate students who successfully defended their theses this past week: Stephanie Neal ("Adoptively transferred maternal colostral cells impact immune status and development in dairy calves"), Hannah Tucker ("The Effects of Tamoxifen on Mammary Development in Prepubertal Heifers"), and Brittany Willing ("Abundance and Relative Abundance of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Feces Following Prophylactic and Therapeutic Intrammamary Antibiotic Infusion in Dairy Cattle").
July 10, 2013 — Dr. Isis Kanevsky-Mullarky was presented with the ADSA Foundation Scholar Award in Dairy Production at the ADSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The ADSA Foundation Scholar Award in Dairy Production was created to recognize a young scholar from the Production Division and their potential in research and educational leadership, and to identify critical issues affecting the future of the dairy industry. Special requirements include a ten year or less post‐final academic degree, current active membership in the American Dairy Science Association, exemplary research and/or educational programs (instruction, extension, or industry), and potential for future leadership.
July 7, 2013--When recent graduate Thomas Galligan first arrived on campus, he was uncertain about his interest in Dairy Science. Intrigued by the department size and the opportunity to work closely with dedicated faculty and advisors, Thomas quickly embraced the major and never looked back. Said Galligan, “In hindsight, I see just how truly serendipitous my decision to try dairy science was; it was through DASC and my interaction with the DASC faculty that I truly discovered and explored my passions. They encouraged me to try new things and take advantage of every opportunity I had to expand my experience and grow. And obviously, I now have tremendous newfound respect for agriculture, animals, farmers, and especially everyone and everything involved in the dairy industry. To say that I will remember it fondly would be a major understatement.”
Thomas, too, will be remembered fondly for his contributions to the department and to Virginia Tech. After graduating with the “Honors Scholar Diploma” and being distinguished as Summa Cum Laude, Thomas was inducted into both the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Beginning in August, Thomas will begin working on his Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. With an interest in biochemistry, molecular biology, and general physiology, Thomas hopes to pursue each from an applied science perspective.
Thomas credits his interest in research to Dr. Katharine Knowlton, a professor in the department who allowed him to work in her lab during the spring and fall semesters of 2011. It was this experience that changed his career aspirations from veterinary/clinical science to research science. “Thanks to the caliber of education I received through DASC and my research experiences, I was a competitive applicant for research internships”, said Galligan. This claim was substantiated by his selection for a number of NSF REU programs in a variety of fields, and other opportunities to showcase his research.
When asked about his time at Virginia Tech, Thomas said, “The best way for me to describe my experience with Dairy Science at VT is ‘serendipitous’. I ended up in Dairy Science on a whim and a hunch back in 2009. I stayed in Dairy Science because it was immediately and abundantly clear that no other program could offer me the experiences, opportunities, and personal attention that the unique curriculum and dedicated faculty in the Department of Dairy Science could. The Dairy Science program at VT helped me to discover my true passion and enabled me to pursue it!”
It appears Thomas is well on his way, and we wish him the very best!
June 7, 2013--More and more, what sustains our momentum as a world-class Dairy Science Program are donations from Hokies like you -- gifts that help promising students become leaders and innovative thinkers; the future of the Virginia Dairy Industry. Dairy Science grad Sean Jones is a loyal Hokie who helps keep our traditions strong as the department continues to thrive each year. Jones has made a significant impact on continuing education through his annual giving contributions. Since graduating from Virginia Tech in 1987, Jones has been a consistent supporter of the department, serving as a sponsor in the Hokie Cow Classic Golf Tournament. The annual fundraiser, now in its 11th year, directly supports student programs, scholarships, and enrichment opportunities to collegiate and 4-H students. When asked why he continues to donate year after year, Jones remarked, “to keep the program strong, good students need to be involved”. Jones added that, “education costs are high and if we can help offset just a little of that it could help keep and attract those students”. Jones’ commitment to the Dairy Science Department also stems from the pride he has in the quality education provided to Dairy Science students. When asked to elaborate about his time as a student in the department, Jones noted the knowledge and skills he acquired through classes such as Dairy Cattle Nutrition, Farm Business Management, and Farm Finance. He was also quick to mention the sound communication and decision-making skills he acquired through participation on the Dairy Judging Team. Truly a well-rounded individual, Jones also hit the mats for a season with the Virginia Tech wrestling team, an experience that also enhanced his mental and physical toughness.
With the support of alumni like Sean Jones, students past and present are able to enjoy many of the successes he has been afforded; and there have been many. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Jones returned home to his family farm where he began work as a herdsman. Demonstrating the same mental toughness and perseverance he exhibited as a grappler and a student, it didn’t take Jones long to work his way into a management position. With his leadership, the dairy has relocated and expanded from a 400 milking cow operation with 1000 acres, to a 1350 cow milking operation farming 1500 acres.
Despite the challenges and rigors of running a large dairy, Jones has taken the time to give back, and for that we are very grateful. The annual Hokie Cow Classic golf tournament is the primary scholarship fundraiser for the department, and we certainly appreciate having the representation and support of the Jones Family Farm during this showcase event!
June 5, 2013—The Department of Dairy Science is pleased to announce that Dr. Christina Petersson-Wolfe has been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure. An authority on mastitis control, Petersson-Wolfe has developed active extension and research programs since coming to Virginia Tech in 2006. The foci of her research are to understand the pathogenicity and transmission of mastitis-causing bacteria and the impact of early disease detection and intervention practices on the improvement of animal well-being. Mastitis, a serious infection of the bovine mammary gland, costs the U.S. dairy industry nearly $2 billion annually—and $10 billion worldwide.
The lab she co-developed, the Mastitis and Immunology Laboratory, allows milk culturing to identify on-farm problem areas related to milk quality, hygiene and sources of environmental contamination. This in turn allows for farm-specific recommendations and improvement. The laboratory serves as the cornerstone for her programming and is nationally recognized as a superior milk diagnostic center. A goal of her extension program, tightly integrated with her research program, is to emphasize the importance of animal well-being and provide producers with the knowledge and tools to improve the welfare of animals.
Another aspect of Petersson-Wolfe’s research program is to evaluate the ability of daily milk component and activity data to detect disease. To this end, she was instrumental in securing novel milk component recording devices and specialized pedometer tags for activity readings, making the Virginia Tech dairy herd the first in North America with these technologies.
A new project, the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative (SQMI), is a collaborative outreach, educational and applied research program on mastitis control by six Land-Grant Universities in the southeast to enhance the sustainability of the dairy industry in this region. Producing high quality milk with low bacterial numbers results in increased farm profitability, increased shelf life and improved food safety.
Petersson-Wolfe was elected to the National Mastitis Council Board of Directors in 2013 and serves on the National Mastitis Council Teat Health Committee. She was also elected Secretary (2008), Vice-chair (2009), and Chair (2010) for the NE-1028 Multi-state Mastitis Regional Project. Additionally, she is a member of the Research Committee for the National Mastitis Council, a member of the American Dairy Science Association, a reviewer for the Journal of Dairy Science and a former reviewer for BARD, The United-States – Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.
Petersson-Wolfe earned her B.S. at Penn State, her M.S. at the University of Guelph, and her Ph.D. at Ohio State.
June 4. 2013 – Roxanne Seltzer, a rising senior from Selinsgrove, PA has been awarded one of the very prestigious NDS/DMI Milk Marketing Scholarships presented annually by the National Dairy Shrine! This scholarship was created to encourage qualified undergraduate students to pursue careers in dairy product marketing.
May 24, 2013–The 11th Annual Hokie Cow Classic held Monday, May 20th, was a huge success thanks to our generous supporters! The Hokie Cow Classic is more than just a golf tournament. It is the single greatest source of funds to support undergraduate scholarships and student travel activities for the Dairy Science Department. Each year our alumni and local dairy supporters attend the Hokie Cow Classic and provide financial support that enables additional scholarship funding and programming for our collegiate and 4-H students. The Dairy Science Department thanks you all so very much for your support!
Photo gallery, high-resolution team photos, awards and sponsor lists are now available here.
BLACKSBURG, Va., May 14, 2013 – The 2013-14 officers of Virginia Tech’s Student Government Association were recently sworn in during a campus ceremony and have already begun their work to serve the university's undergraduate student body.
Undergraduate students cast their ballots earlier this spring and elected Brent Ashley of Felton, Del., a junior majoring in dairy science and animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to be their president. Anjelica Smith of Chesapeake, Va., a junior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was elected vice president for a second term.
Ashley was a Student Government Association senator during the 2012-13 school year. (more...)
May 9, 2013 – A team of dairy science students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech recently garnered a second-place finish in the 12th annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge.
The team went up against 223 competitors from 37 colleges and universities hailing from throughout the United States and Canada. Virginia Tech has historically performed well at this event with teams occupying first or second place in eight of the previous 12 contests.
The Dairy Challenge is a two-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. The contest’s mission is to facilitate education, communication, and an exchange of ideas between students, agribusinesses, dairy producers, and universities in order to enhance the development of the dairy industry and its leaders. The competition was held from April 4-6 in Fort Wayne, Ind. (more...)
The Department has recently completed an external review of all of its research, teaching, and extension programs. These reviews typically involve 3-5 professors from other universities and government specialists who spend approximately 3 days reviewing and ultimately critiquing all aspects of department function and activity. (more) | Fact Sheet
Jan. 13-17, 2014
Area Dairy Conferences
Feb. 19−21, 2014
Virginia State Feed Association & Virginia Tech Nutritional