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  • Dairy Science adds adjunct faculty


    Dr. Patrick French Dr. Patrick French

    November 18, 2014The Department of Dairy Science is pleased to have Dr. Patrick French join us as an adjunct professor.   Dr. French received his B.S. degree in Accounting and his M.S. in Dairy Nutrition from the University of Kentucky.   He completed his Ph.D. degree at Virginia Tech in dairy nutrition and management.  He coordinated teaching and research in dairy nutrition and management at Oregon State University for several years before returning to Virginia as Director of Ruminant Nutrition  and Research for Southern States.  Currently Dr. French is a Co-Owner of RP Feed Components and PF Bovidae, LLC.   His firm markets rumen protected amino acids and provides value added products for lactating dairy cattle.  In addition he provides nutritional and management consulting for dairies and conducts field research on dairy farms and at their research center in Wisconsin.

    At Virginia Tech, Dr. French provides valuable nutritional and management advice to our dairy.  He serves on graduate committees and assists in teaching our dairy nutrition and management courses.    His wealth of experiences gained from research, work in Oregon and with dairies throughout the U.S. have made him a valuable asset to our faculty, students and dairy herd at Virginia Tech.   

  • Aerial view of the new Virginia Tech dairy construction at Kentland Farm

        Aerial view of the new Virginia Tech dairy construction at Kentland Farm.

    November 6, 2014

  • CALS Reception

        President Sands with the Dairy Club

    October 30, 2014President Sands and Provost McNamee visits with Dairy Club students at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences reception.
    More photos from President Sands' visit to CALS.   Letter from Dean Grant on President Sands' installation and visit.

  • Dairy Science Open House October 17-18, 2014

        Hokie students with Holstein and textbooks with fall foliage background

    Our Open House allows prospective students to experience a day in the life of a Dairy Science student!

    The Friday afternoon session will cover university admission information, the Dairy Science program, curriculum, and activities. On Friday evening you will have the opportunity to experience the Hokie community as you are invited to participate in the installation programs of the new university president.

    The Saturday morning session offers mock classes for students while parents learn about financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Farm and campus tours will be available.

    Register online or call 540-231-4769.  Print schedule.


  • Southeast Quality Milk Initiative meets at Virginia Tech


    2014 Southeast Quality Milk Initiative - 2nd Annual Meeting Front row (L-R): Dr. Christina Petersson-Wolfe (VT); Dr. Susan Schexnayder, (UT); Dr. Steve Oliver (UT); Dr. Gina Pighetti (UT). Middle row (L-R): Dr. Anne Saeman (National Mastitis Council); Dr. Bradley Mills (Zoetis); Dr. Mark Fly (UT); Chandler Blakely (UT); Dr. Steve Nickerson (UGA); Dr. Jeffrey Bewley (UK); Amanda Stone (UK); Abby Griffith (VT); Kristy Campbell (DeLaval). Back row (L-R) Jimmy Hopper (Tennessee Department of Agriculture); Kevne Hull (UT); Dr. Stephanie Ward (MSU); Dr. Liz Adams, (Merck Animal Health); Dr. Peter Krawczel (UT).

    September 26, 2014— The 2nd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative (SQMI) was held in Blacksburg, September 22-24, 2014.  SQMI is the collaborative effort of six southeastern universities to improve milk quality, increase profitability and sustainability of the dairy industry in the southeast.

    The quality of milk produced in the Southeast (SE), based on somatic cell count (SCC) and standard plate count (SPC), is consistently lower than the rest of the US. Reduced milk quality increases costs while decreasing revenues and efficiency. The combined effect of these factors contributes to the declining dairy industry in the southeast. Understanding factors that have the greatest impact on milk quality will provide a background for programs aimed at helping producers improve their operations and was the underlying basis for the establishment of the SQMI.

    In the southeast the heat and humidity present particular challenges to dairying and is a major factor contributing lower quality. Typically, dairy herds in the southeast expect to see increases in SCC especially during the summer months, but preliminary work associated with this project indicates the increase can be eliminated or at least greatly reduced.

    The University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, The University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, University of Florida and Virginia Tech have joined together on this outreach, research and educational project to formulate solutions for dairy producers and those who advise them.  The 2014 SQMI meeting brought together researchers, dairy producers, advisory board members, vets, and industry leaders and representatives. Hands-on demonstrations, short courses and breakout sessions were offered for the first portion of the meeting; the advisory board and SQMI group met later for project updates and planning purposes.

    The SQMI group is lead by Dr. Steve Oliver, Professor of Animal Science & Assistant Dean of Research, at the University of Tennessee. University collaborators include: Dr. Raul Almeida (UT); Dr. Mark Fly (UT); Dr. Gina Pighetti  (UT); Dr. Peter Krawczel (UT); Dr. Michelle Arnold (UK); Dr. Jeffrey Bewley (UK); Dr. Lori Garkovich, (UK); Dr. Stephen Nickerson (UGA); Dr. Stephanie Ward (MSU); Dr. James Brett (MSU); Dr. Albert DeVries (UF); and Dr. Christina Petersson-Wolfe (VT).

    This project is funded by USDANIFA-AFRI sponsored grant #2013-68004-20424.

    For more information, visit the SQMI website at

  • The Virginia Tech Judging Teams are off to another successful start to their judging season

        2014 Judging Team

    September 20, 2014—This year’s team ‘A’ members are Caitlyn Abbot from Fairfield VT, Lucas DeBlois from Colebrook NH, Jenna Hardy from Perkasie PA and Ryan Zimmerman from Littlestown PA. Team ‘B’ members are Cole Davis from Pleasant Garden NC, Kelly Leatherman from Perkasie PA and Joy Nystrom from Culpeper VA. The judging teams are coached by Drs. Michael Barnes and Katharine Knowlton.

    The season started off with both teams competing in the Eastern States contest in Massachusetts. Cole Davis was 1st in Guernseys, 3rd in Holsteins, 4th in Jerseys and Milking Shorthorns, 6th in reasons and 1st overall and was High Individual Overall. Jenna placed 3rd in Brown Swiss, 7th in reasons and 4th overall, Ryan was 5th in Guernseys and 11th overall, Caitlyn 14th overall and Lucas was 1st in Milking Shorthorns. Team A was 2nd overall and 4th in reasons and Team B finished 5th in reasons.

    The Pennsylvania All American contest in Harrisburg PA was another successful day. Only the A team competed; they placed 3rd in reasons and 3rd overall. Ryan placed 3rd in Brown Swiss, 3rd in Guernseys, 10th in reasons and 7th overall, Lucas was 8th in Brown Swiss, Caitlyn finished 5th in Guernsey, 8th in Jerseys and 8th overall and Jenna placed 1st in Guernseys, 1st in Holsteins, 3rd in reasons and 3rd overall. In addition to their 3rd place finish in team reasons and overall, the team finished 1st in Guernseys and 2nd in Holsteins, 3rd in reasons.

    Team members and coaches greatly appreciate the support of the Virginia State Dairyman’s Association, the Virginia Dairy Foundation, the Virginia Tech Dairy Club, and the many AI organization and alumni donors who provide financial support for this activity. We also thank VANC Select Sire Power for their generous donation of team-member recognition plaques each year. The team is also indebted to the many farms throughout the northeast, mid-Atlantic, southeast and Wisconsin who host judging practices throughout the year.

  • Welcome Dr. Kristy Daniels!


    Dr. Kristy Daniels

    July 10, 2014—We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kristy Daniels will be joining the Department of Dairy Science in August as our new Animal Systems Biologist.  She joins us from the Animal Sciences Department at Ohio State University. Dr. Daniels earned both her M.S. and Ph.D. at Virginia Tech and her B.S. from Michigan State University.

  • Congratulations!

        2014 Spring Dean's List
  • Congratulations Veronica Steer (VT DASC, 2003)

        Veronica Steer, Young Jersey Breeder for 2014

    June 30, 2014—Veronica Steer, Cottage Grove, Tenn., was awarded one of seven Young Jersey Breeder Awards given by the American Jersey Cattle Association in ceremonies on June 27, 2014, during the association’s Annual Meetings in Alexandria, Virginia.

    The Young Jersey Breeder Award is presented to individuals or couples who are at least 28 years old and under the age of 40 on January 1 of the year nominated, who merit recognition for their expertise in dairy farming, breeding Jersey cattle, participation in programs of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., and leadership in Jersey and other dairy and agriculture organizations.

    Veronica’s work with the Jersey breed started at a young age as she would follow her father Charles around when she was little, opening gates, counting heifers, or watering calves. In 2001, Veronica was the winner of the National Jersey Youth Achievement Contest. Her Jersey experiences encouraged her to pursue a degree in dairy science at Virginia Tech, from which she graduated in 2003.

    Since Veronica returned to her home farm, Sunbow Jerseys, in 2005 she has taken over many of the day-to-day responsibilities and management decisions. The 2013 lactation average on the 97-cow herd was 17,783 lbs. milk, 782 lbs. fat, and 618 lbs. protein. Currently, five cows in the herd rank on the Top 1.5% traditional Jersey Performance Index™ list.

    Veronica has consistently utilized young sire programs. For 2013, 85% of matings were to genomic young sires and she sold her first bull into A.I. Veronica is the current President of Dixieland Jersey Sires Inc. James Huffard, Huffard Dairy Farms, Crockett, Va., commented on Veronica’s involvement with the program: “She is one of those young Jersey minds that you definitely want on the team.”

    The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics, and Jersey milk and milk products. (from

  • Student Spotlight on Roxy Seltzer


    Roxy Seltzer "VT Dairy Science provides the foundation necessary to continue in a dairy or agricultural career. You have the opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world situations."

    June 17, 2014—A true ‘rock-star’ in the department during her time at Virginia Tech, Selinsgrove, PA native Roxanne Seltzer is the subject of today’s student spotlight.  Roxy chose to attend Virginia Tech because of the sense of community on campus and quality of faculty in the Dairy Science department.  During her time as an undergraduate, Roxy was exposed to coursework that created a strong foundation for a career within the dairy industry.  "You have most of the information that you need to succeed, all you need to do is apply the information", remarked Roxy, an honors student and 2nd Vice President of the Dairy Club. 

    With graduation complete, Roxy is currently working part-time as an assistant herdsman on the Dave Myers Dairy Farm, and plans to seek full-time employment opportunities within the Pennsylvania agriculture industry.  When asked about her experience as a DASC major at Virginia Tech, Roxy replied, "VT Dairy Science provides the foundation necessary to continue in a dairy or agricultural career.  You have the opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world situations."

    We wish Roxy the best in her future endeavors, and know she will enjoy the same level of success she is accustomed to!

  • Student Spotlight on Kelly Quesinberry


    Kelly Quesinberry "The Dairy Science program at VT is absolutely wonderful and allowed me to explore a part of agriculture that I had not yet explored."

    June 9, 2014—A native of Huntingtown, Maryland, Kelly Quesinberry recently completed a very successful undergraduate career at Virginia Tech.  Kelly chose the Department of Dairy Science to help prepare her for veterinary school.  Initially, Kelly was unsure whether she wanted to strictly pursue food animal medicine or equine medicine, so she decided to explore the Dairy Industry.  In doing so, Kelly found the answers to these questions and much more.  Between working in Dr. Mark Hanigan’s nutrition lab, working at the Virginia Tech Dairy, and learning from "top-notch professors", Kelly decided that she wants to work in food animal medicine or perhaps mixed large animal medicine. 

    When asked about her most memorable experience while a student a Virginia Tech, Kelly offered a perfect synopsis of what makes this community so special.  "During my time at Virginia Tech, the most memorable experience was my first football game. While I had terrible seats in the upper stands of the south end zone, there was nothing like jumping to Enter Sandman for the very first time with thousands of other Hokies. The football games perfectly describe what Virginia Tech is all about: a large state school with a small, closely knit community feel. There’s just nothing like it."

    With graduation behind her, Kelly is currently on the wait-list for acceptance at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.  Completing that program is certainly the primary goal, but if that doesn’t work out, Kelly plans to remain in the New River Valley and reapply to vet schools in the fall.

Upcoming Seminar

When: Thursday, Nov. 20,
11:00-12:15 PM

Who:  Taylor Yohe

What: Factors Affecting Development of the Rumen

Where: 101 Life-Sciences

2014 Fall Seminar Schedule

Upcoming Events

Feb. 18-20, 2015
69th Annual Virginia State Feed Association & Virginia Tech Nutritional Management "Cow College"
Hotel Roanoke
Roanoke, VA

Mar. 9-13, 2015
Area Dairy Conferences
--March 9  -  Amelia
--March 10 - Harrisonburg
--March 11 - Culpeper
--March 12 - Rocky Mount
--March 13 - Marion
Details TBA