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.
May 23, 2013--This week, the DASC Student Spotlight shines on Emma Reeves, a rising sophomore from Pulaski, VA. In just one year, Emma has already enjoyed tremendous success here at Virginia Tech. She has participated in the Residential Leadership Community, Dairy Club, and Sigma Alpha; a testament to her dedication and work ethic. This success was acknowledged on Monday evening when Emma was recognized as the recipient of the Dairy Farmers of America Scholar Award.
Having grown up on a farm with dairy and beef cattle, Emma joined the department already equipped with valuable knowledge and experience. When asked why she chose Virginia Tech, Emma cited her love of agriculture and the opportunity to join a closely knit, stand-along Dairy Science department. Emma also had the opportunity to interact with faculty and students while in high school, and those interactions convinced her that Dairy Science at Virginia Tech would be the perfect fit.
With just a year under her belt, Emma is still exploring career goals and opportunities. She has an interest in nutrition and extension, but looks forward to research and extracurricular activities that will assist in this exploration. Whatever path she chooses, there is no doubt she will be successful.
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