Animal Sciences Alumni Newsletter

  1. Animal Sciences Alumni In The News

    Our Animal Sciences alumni are making the news!

    Information courtesy of CFAES Office of Advancement:


  2. Save the Date

    Buckeye Classic Sale - Annual dairy cattle sale. Typically held in late March. Check here for updates.

    CHAIRE Inaugural Research Symposium -  This year the symposium will be held in the Bob Evans Room in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Tuesday April 7, 2020. The symposium will be an all day event, with a break for attendees to eat their own lunch. This is an opportunity for CHAIRE members to showcase their research as well as other faculty members, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. You can learn more and register here.

    Buckeye Bonanza Open House & Horse Sale Preview - April 18th, 10am-3pm  at the OSU Equine Facility at Don Scott Field (off Sawmill Road). As always, we will have fun activities for the whole family and our students will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the skills they have been practicing with their sale horses in the Advanced Equine Behavior & Training class this semester. Check here for more information!

  3. Remembered

    The Department of Animal Sciences remembers members of our community we have lost.

    John R. Staubus, 93, of Columbus, OH passed away on November 14, 2019 at The Forum in Columbus, OH.

    John served in the U.S. Army during World War II and became the oldest member of the Cissna Park American Legion. He was a member of Bethel United Methodist Church, Alpha Zeta Epsilon, Sigma Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta Professional Fraternities. John received his Bachelor degree and PhD from the University of Illinois. He was a Professor of Dairy Science at The Ohio State University and received the Dairy Science Hall of Fame Service Award in 1990 and the Meritorious Service Award in 2011. He enjoyed spending time with his family and traveling to all 50 states, Canada, China, and England. John liked playing golf with friends, especially the 19th hole.

    You can read the full obituary here.

    John R. Staubus

  4. Dairy Facilities Updates Overview

    The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the Department of Animal Sciences have made the decision to move forward with upgrades to our Waterman Dairy Center in Columbus, Ohio. This allows us to: modernize and improve our facilities; reduce the number of milking cows to accommodate additional animal numbers that will come to the property as we build our new Multi-Species Animal Learning Center; focus more on our teaching and outreach mission; gather research data from appropriately equipped group housing; and allow for additional public interaction and education regarding use of precision animal agriculture via technology.

    Additionally, CFAES, the Department, and The Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) have agreed to combine our Krauss Dairy Center and the ATI Dairy Facility in Wooster, Ohio. This transition will occur over the next year and will involve some remodeling and the introduction of new technologies at those facilities. The plans revolve around increasing milking cow numbers at the Krauss Dairy Center and retrofitting the ATI Dairy to focus on raising replacement heifers.

    We have solicited comprehensive proposals from the two leading manufacturers of robotic milking technology and their respective dealers. We have vetted their proposals and have chosen Lely Manufacturing and Prenger’s Inc. in Lebanon, Ohio (the closest Lely distributer) to remodel and retrofit our facilities over the next year.

    The utilization of new technologies at all of our facilities will open up new opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Students will learn to utilize the latest equipment and analyze the data retrieved from them, increasing their career opportunities. Faculty and staff will be able to evaluate more data points on animal health than ever before; these data points will also allow for a more proactive response to animal needs. Most importantly, no jobs will be lost in the technological transition. Some staff will see their job responsibilities reconfigured to meet the new technological demands.


    Our proposal includes leasing equipment from Lely (on a 7-year lease) to allow us to update technology more frequently.  Additionally, we will remodel the Waterman Dairy buildings to: include a viewing room (to observe the robotic milking system and the free stalls); enclose the free stalls to improve winter temperatures; overhaul the manure handling system to likely include a squeeze  press unit to separate liquids from solids (solids to be used as bedding – we do this at our Krauss Dairy in Wooster; or to be transported offsite as described below); and make upgrades and improvements to the ventilation system in the free stall barn.  We also anticipate bringing our calves inside and housing them in group housing, and potentially utilizing an automated calf feeding system (Lely Calm Calf).  We are also looking into a controlled feeding system (something similar to Grow Safe or Smart Feed) to allow for research with the group housed cows. Plans are also underway to determine a plan for manure handling, which may include transport of solids offsite or utilization of modern treatment systems.


    Our goals in combining the Krauss and ATI dairy units focus on: improving educational opportunities, increasing research capacity, driving operational efficiency, maximizing resource utilization, and fostering collaboration. Currently, there are 110 lactating cows at both Krauss and ATI, for a total of 220 lactating cows; ATI’s cows will be moved to Krauss and Krauss’ heifers will be moved to ATI. Having all of the lactating cows at Krauss will allow for more research on the various stages of lactation; it will also allow students to be trained on the new milking parlor equipment installed at Krauss in the summer of 2019, at a facility closer to the ATI campus. Moving heifers to the ATI Dairy will allow for improved and specialized care for the unique needs of heifers. Additionally, ATI could also be used to raise Waterman dairy heifers, if needed. Finally, we have submitted a capital budget proposal to CFAES to install a Lely Vector Robotic feeding system at our Krauss Dairy within the next 1 ½ years.

    Waterman Dairy Proposed Updates

  5. Two Animal Sciences Nominees Selected for CFAES Alumni Awards

    The CFAES Alumni Society has selected two Animal Sciences nominees for awards at the 2020 CFAES Alumni Awards Program. Dr. Jerry Bigham was selected for the Meritorious Service Award. Sarah Herringshaw, class of 2007 with a B.S. in Animal Sciences, will receive the Young Professional Award. Both Bigham and Herringshaw were nominated by Dr. James Kinder, Professor in Animal Sciences. The Alumni Awards Luncheon will be held March 7th at the Fawcett Center. 

    Meritorious Award: The purpose of the Meritorious Service Award is to give public recognition to non-alumni and/or alumni of the college who have been singularly significant in the college’s quest for excellence.

    Young Professional Achievement Award: The Young Professional Achievement Award recognizes alumni for their early professional accomplishments. This award provides recognition for these individuals and serves as a stimulus toward further efforts by younger alumni. Nominees are to be 35 years of age and younger at the time of receiving the award.  

    It's not too early to start thinking about nominations for the 2021 awards! Contact the Advancement Office at 614-292-0473 for more information.

  6. Lewis Enrolled in Young Alumni Academy

    Erica Lewis, class of 2015 with a B.S. in Animal Sciences and a minor in Disability Studies, enrolled in the University Young Alumni Academy. The Young Alumni Academy is a professional and personal development program for young Ohio State University alumni in the central Ohio area. 

    The academy is designed to empower young Buckeyes and provide them with the skills they need to be successful, in the workplace and in life. Throughout the 10–month program, participants have the opportunity to hear from experts and community leaders about a variety of topics, including things like salary negotiation, work–life balance and personal branding. It is a cohort–based program and fosters relationships between young professionals within the Ohio State community. In addition, participants will be matched with an alumnus mentor based on similar experiences or goals. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be invited to join an emeriti group to stay connected with The Ohio State University Alumni Association.

    Erica is one of 42 young Ohio State Alumni enrolled in the program. She is an Assistant Director at PBJ Connections.

    Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort will be available in June 2020. For more information, click here.

  7. Fulbright Scholar Utilizes Technology to Explore Age-Old Problems

    Fulbright Scholar Mark Trotter, associate professor at CQUniversity Australia (CQU), is using new technologies to solve age-old problems. Trotter is exploring how integrating satellite vegetation imaging systems and on-animal sensors might help American and Australian ranchers make better grazing management decisions.

    Trotter received a prestigious Fulbright Future Scholarship, funded by the Kinghorn Foundation, to apply his research in Australia to grazing lands in Ohio and New Mexico. He spent the last half of 2019 studying cattle in the temperate pastures of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) farms and the desert rangeland properties of New Mexico State University.

    “Although they are two very different climates and grazing systems,” said Trotter “I found the ranchers and producers in both areas were asking very similar questions about how to be more efficient in utilizing the grass they grow.”

    Trotter explained that there are a lot of grazing management inefficiencies. He suggests that in some areas of Australia, cattle producers are only utilizing about 25% of their pastures. Producers have limited time and access to assess their fields and livestock each day. He hopes to increase that efficiency through integrating satellite imagery and on-animal sensors such as GPS tracking and accelerometers (Fitbit-type sensors). By utilizing both technologies, Trotter is hoping to reach “hybrid vigor” in data.

    “The satellite imagery gives us full access to the ranchers’ entire property. We can see where the land is poor or the grass more productive,” Trotter said.

    This technology has been utilized in past pasture management research and available to Australian graziers for over two decades. However, there are limitations to the technology.

    “Satellites can’t always see through the clouds and they aren’t always taking a picture when you want them to. They also can’t tell us where and how much time cattle spend grazing, animal behaviors change when there are variations in the pasture being grazed, both over time and space,” Trotter explained. “On-animal sensors provide additional data about how the animals are interacting with the feed-base, and it’s this data which needs to be integrated with the satellite systems to make a genuinely useful system. This sort of system will help improve grazing management, get better timing in paddock rotations and potentially tell us when supplement needs to be put out and where to place it so the animals better use the landscape.”

    Practical solutions for producers are Trotter’s primary focus in his research. In addition to time, he recognizes the cost of labor and increasing lack of industry experience as additional factors limiting the productivity of small and mid-size cattle producers.

    “You have some people who have been in the industry for a really long time and they can drive out or ride out on a horse and look at the pasture biomass and animal behaviors and make fairly accurate decisions about when to move their animals to another paddock,” said Trotter. “But not everybody has that experiential knowledge."

    Trotter described additional advantages to technology.

    "The use of technology allows us to replicate the traditional approach with fewer people and train up new people with these skills as they enter the industry. In some ways, these systems are even better than traditional rancher observations because they provide 24-hour data remotely delivered to a phone or tablet; this sort of information has never been available to the livestock industries before," he added. 

    Technology can also serve to bring in younger generations to farms, or encourage those raised on farms to continue to farm.

    "One other benefit we are starting to see is an increased interest amongst the next generation of ranchers in returning to the farm; they can see the benefits of this sort of technology and how it could change the way they could manage a grazing operation for the better”Fulbright Scholar Mark Trotter (rt.) with Scott Payne, manager at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station

    Trotter was introduced to Ohio State through CFAES and Animal Sciences Professor James Kinder, who is also an adjunct professor at CQ. Kinder served as host to Trotter, his wife Tieneke, and their two sons Hudson and Edmund. Kinder and his wife, Denva, provided the Trotters with use of their Wooster condominium and vehicles for personal use. Kinder pointed out that Mark wasn’t the only Trotter collaborating with Ohio State faculty and staff.

    “Tieneke was engaged with several faculty at Ohio State ATI and a few others in CFAES regarding some preliminary planning for an undergraduate study abroad program in collaboration with CQUniversity, where Tieneke is also on faculty,” said Kinder. “She was also engaged in gaining expertise on some of the “hands on” teaching approaches at Ohio State ATI, using precision technologies.”

    Additionally, Kinder introduced Trotter to Animal Sciences Associate Chair Tony Parker and Assistant Professors Alvaro Garcia Guerra and Luis Moraes.  Parker and Garcia Guerra helped Trotter with the animal research while at Ohio State and Moraes will assist with data and analysis. Scott Payne, manager at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station, also assisted with cattle management and observation at the Jackson, Ohio facility.

    Trotter’s collaboration with Garcia Guerra has already resulted in another grant-funded project, “Evaluation of on-animal sensors for early detection of disease and beef bull performance during the breeding season.” Trotter and Garcia Guerra, with assistance from Animal Sciences Clinical Veterinarian and Professional Practice Assistant Professor Justin Kieffer as well as undergraduate student Caleb Rykaczewski, will use accelerometers and GPS trackers to monitor the health of beef bulls. The project is funded through the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Foundation Competitive Research Proposal.

    Trotter stressed the importance of continuing to build stronger collaborations between American and Australian institutions.

    “Cattle producers worldwide have similar issues. By collaborating beyond our borders we have access to increased skills and funding opportunities. We can go on to address worldwide issues,” Trotter explained. “These relationships will lead to at least three more projects. I’m leaving behind sensors for this project and others. This in-turn leads to more funding and more opportunities to help the farming industry.”

    Kinder supported the importance of  multinational collaboration from a broader perspective, “Relationships are fostered that will result in multiple travel exchanges of faculty and students between the two Universities that will ultimately result in stronger relationships that are the lifeline for stimulation of faculty and students in their career endeavors.”

  8. Autumn 2019 Graduation

    autumn commencement photo courtesy of Ohio State News

    On December 15, 2019, The Ohio State University held the autumn 2019 commencement at the Schottenstein Center. More than 2,600 bachelor's degrees were awarded. The Department of Animal Sciences awarded 37 undergraduate degrees and three graduate degrees.

    Animal Sciences Graduation Numbers:

    • 37 BS in Animal Sciences degrees
    • 36 are from Ohio
    • 5 earned Honors (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude)
    • 3 graduate students
    • 1 PhD, Dr. Jerad Jaborek
    • 2 MS, Sarah Battista & Jacob Copelin
  9. Waterman Dairy Update

    On October 27th, students competed in the Buckeye Royal Showmanship Contest, hosted by the Buckeye Dairy Club. Students could compete in experienced and inexperienced showmanship classes. In addition, there was a heifer costume contest.








    Meagan Cramm, professional violist, provides entertainment for the cows at Waterman Dairy.





  10. Processed Meats Product Final Show

    The Processed Meats (MEATSCI 4510) class presented its final products to visitors who wanted to taste and judge the students' creations. Individuals or teams produced a variety of meat products, including proper labeling, a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) safety plan, and a marketing and advertising plan. The course was taught by Dr. Macdonald Wick, associate professor, with HAACP assistance from Dr. Lynn Knipe, associate professor in the departments of animal and food sciences.

    Students enjoyed trying to come up with unique products. One group, "Breakfast Poppers", took decided to combine their meat product with baking.

    Evan Smith and Hannah Cochran“We were originally just going to do sausage,” said Animal Sciences senior Hannah Cochran. “But Evan [Smith] really loves to make bread. So he created a pancake batter that we could dip the sausage in. They’re like breakfast corn dogs!”

    Making unique products can create some challenges. Members of "Pork Rillettes" found the amount of time required to create their product challenging.

    “We sous vide our pork shoulder rendered in duck fat in a water bath for 24 hours,” said Food Business senior Maya Schlessel. “That meant it had to be monitored for 24 hours. It really wasn’t as bad as it sounds! I was able to sleep for short periods at a time!”

    The course attracts a wide range of students. Of the 15 students enrolled in the course, 11 are from majors outside of animal and meat sciences.

    Senior Ryan Brown, a food business management major, attempted to make a pastrami similar to the one at Katz’s Deli in his hometown, NYC. Pork Rillettes

    “I haven’t had a good pastrami since I’ve been in Columbus,” explained Brown. “The Processed Meats class gave me a chance to try and capture the taste of home. I think I did a pretty good job!”

  11. Faculty and Staff Honored for Service

    On December 4, Ohio State held it's Service Recognition Luncheon. Faculty and staff were honored who have completed 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service to Ohio State in the calendar year 2019. Animal Sciences had 5 individuals honored, Cynthia Coy (40 years), Angela Brumfield-Hersey (30 years), Shawny Kaufman (30 years), and John Lemmermen (25 years). Of course we can't forget Sandy Bentley! She was one of only three individuals celebrating 50 years of service to Ohio State! Sandy has served all 50 years in the Department of Animal Sciences!

    Ohio State President Michael Drake, Office Associate Sandy Bentley and Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron

  12. Animal Units Receive AAALAC Accreditation

    The animal units of the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Ohio State ATI, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) have received full three-year accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.

    AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane care and use of animals in science by voluntary assessment, including an on-site inspection of research programs. AAALAC accreditation identifies Ohio State as a top research institution that puts care and use of animals in its research and teaching as a top priority.

    Earlier this year, the animal units went through this extensive, voluntary, accreditation process that began with an internal review. During this review, Valerie Bergdall, director of OSU laboratory animal resources, Justin Kieffer, clinical veterinarian, and Julie Morris, director of farm operations, led a team of animal unit managers and employees to create a “Program Description” which describes all aspects of the Department’s animal care and use. After reviewing the Program Description, AAALAC evaluators conducted an extensive on-site assessment of policies, animal housing and management, veterinary care, and facilities.

    In its report, AAALAC commended Ohio State, “Especially noteworthy were the strong administrative commitment to the program, evidenced in part by the involvement of the Institutional Official in the animal care and use program, the efforts to see campus-wide AAALAC International accreditation and the investment in new and updated facilities.” 

    Department of Animal Sciences Chair, John Foltz, stated “I think accreditation is a testament to our people and facilities; we received this accreditation without any ‘findings’ that would have indicated we needed to change or improve our practices.  We take animal welfare seriously and work to continue to educate not only our employees, but our students about the importance of animal care.”

    By earning voluntary AAALAC accreditation, Ohio State joins more than 1,000 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 49 countries in demonstrating a commitment to responsible animal care and use. Other institutions that have earned AAALAC accreditation include the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The American Red Cross, and the National Institutes of Health.

    AAALAC letter page 1AAALAC letter page 2

  13. Dairy Judging Team Makes Trip to Switzerland

    Dairy Judging Team Coach and Dairy Program Specialist, Bonnie Ayars, shares her thoughts on the Dairy Judging Team's trip to Switzerland.

    The experiences of the last few months has brought me to  a unique twist on the theme of “being thought of.” 

    Prior to the contest at Madison, one of the last quotes I shared with the OSU team was that “luck is what happens when skill runs out.” Little did I know or understand how those words would come back to us as we won by one point.

    Promise fulfilled

    Just days earlier, I had casually promised that if they were victorious, we would take them on their dream trip to Switzerland. As luck would have it, New Generation Sires was taking their trip to the home of Brown Swiss once again the end of November. 

    You may call it luck, fate, divine intervention or the power of a promise, but we managed the trip and have returned with all sorts of tales and memories. Our journey lasted seven days and we never found a dull moment or time to rest. We were too busy being caught up in the culture, the cows, and the cuisine of Switzerland. 

    Farm visits

    Under the direction and contacts of Dan Gilbert (New Generation Sires), we visited 14 farms, the Swiss Breeders bull stud, a major heifer sale with a top of $24,000, and a phenomenal cow show attended by over 1000 people. 

    Our eyes and ears were wide open and receptive to the breeders, their farms, their management styles, and their incredible hospitality. At farms, pedigrees rolled off of their tongues rapidly and with pleasure. Cows were paraded before us and almost every farm had their cows “bagged” and ready for the presentation. 

    We were in awe of youthful udders, high and wide rear udders, and cows that were aging beautifully with over 10 lactations and bred back. We could hardly believe what we were observing and hearing as our interpreter (Werner from Swiss Genetics) translated their language. 

    After the visit, food and strong coffee was offered as we warmed our hands and souls with their genuine enthusiasm and honor that we had come to visit their herds. We exchanged the universal, non-verbal communication of smiles and handshakes. 

    Swiss farm life

     Herd sizes varied from 20 to 50 cows and if you were in that upper range, the farm was considered commercial. Government subsidies offered much to support their lifestyle in a country where agriculture is serious business. Older homes were attached to the barn and newer ones may have set off by themselves. 

    The standard Swiss chalet was built to support lots of snow and was generally three stories. Each story of their home was for a different purpose. 

    A highlight of our adventure was to be invited into a home (a newer one) for an evening of food and fellowship. With hearty appetites, we were entertained and the language barrier was conquered through our meal and common experiences. 

    Mountain trek

    One of our trips took us a mile high up into the mountains where it was snowing and yet down in the valleys, grass was green. There were narrow roads and homes were dotted along the country side. Winding roads provided interest and some scary moments. 

    Cows are revered and such a part of the country’s traditions. Many make their way into the mountains for the summer months and this milk becomes a part of the Alpine Cheese. The trek up and down is celebrated with the everyday cow bells. 

    Cow bells earned at shows are usually on display in a barn’s special room where guests are invited and entertained. Every farm had a slightly different interpretation and style of how this hospitality/office area was located and used. 

    We were also amazed to view how animals, of all ages, were housed in one barn. Calves and cows were easily viewed in different areas of a central barn. 

    Cow show

    The glamour of a cow show completed our trip. Our group was honored to be hosted as VIP guests. We sat at special tables on the arena level and throughout the course of the show, we were served a meal, snacks, “beverages,” and desserts. 

    Prior to the show, the young judge came over and exchanged some banter with us. We had already met him at his farm. Although he would give all his reasons in his language, we cordially teased him about how close we would listen to pick up his terms. Can you imagine how special we felt?

    At this show, there were no heifer classes, only cows. Birthdates were not the determining factor, but the number of lactations was how animals were entered. They ranged from one lactation up to a class of 10-11 lactation cows. 

    Each canton could send an entry for each class and those were nominated, inspected, and approved prior to the show. There were no more than 15 animals per class and the ring was crowded once they all entered. The ambience and display was impressive and they were just as serious and passionate as the American show “warriors.” 

    Being thought of

    There is so much to share, but let me go back and use that theme of “being thought of.” 

    These travelers of the next generation received this gift in so many ways. Donations came from AI groups, individual businesses, local hometown support, judging team alumni, and our Animal Sciences department here on campus. We were and are blessed with support and respect.

     Just like that centuries-old newspaper column that assured Virginia there was a Santa Claus, the giving spirit lives on for this very fortunate OSU dairy judging team. It is in the hearts and souls of our contributors, our followers, and our families who believed in these four kids and every young person who dreams of being on a winning team.

  14. Dairy Judging Team Places 1st in National Contest

    The Ohio State Dairy Judging Team placed first at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo. The last time Ohio State won the contest was in 1986.

    The Dairy Judging Team placed first among eighteen schools in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest on September 30. Coached by Bonnie Ayars, The Ohio State University team placed seventh for reasons with a score of 788. The team consists of fourth-place overall individual Billy Smith and ninth-place overall individual Lauren Almasy along with Sarah Lehner and Ian Lokai.

    The team carried 10 pennies and a buckeye in their pockets in honor of former Dairy Judging Team Coach Dr. Pete Spike. Dr. Spike's dairy farm was named Ten Penny Holsteins.

    (l to r) Billy Smith, Ian Lokai, Sarah Lehner, and Lauren Almasy

    You can read more about the contest results here.

  15. Poultry Judging Team Update

    The Ohio State Poultry Judging Team competed in the 54th National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on November 4th & 5th, 2019. The team placed 7th in the Egg Production & Quality Division; 7th in the Breed Selection & Carcass Quality Division; and 7th overall. Other participating schools in the contest were the University of Arkansas, Penn State University, Mississippi State University, Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the University of North Georgia.

    Left to right: Emily Benton, Williamsburg; Mackenzie Tucker, Cambridge; Zak Jones, Canton; Shelby Thompson, Batavia; and Taylor Blythe, Lima.  Not pictured: Paige Doklovic (undergraduate assistant coach), Mansfield; Jonathan Suwarna (undergraduate assistant coach), Lorain; and Michael Cressman, coach.

  16. 2019 Buckeye Shepherd's Symposium

    By Brady Campbell

    Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

    As promised, the 2019 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium and 70th anniversary of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) was full of enthusiasm, entertainment, education, friendship, and much more! Among the many highlights, this years event hosted 110 shepherds on Friday afternoon and well over 200 shepherds for the Saturday program. The unique program drew an audience from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico. We warned you earlier that you if you didn’t register for this year's event, you were going to miss out and we hate to say it, but we right. So, for those that weren’t able to attend, we hope that we will be able to share a few highlights that occurred during the two-day event. This year's event focused on ‘Improving Profitability of the Sheep Operation’ and included two special guests that are heavily involved in the North American sheep industry.

    To kick off the Friday's event, Sandi Brock, Ontario sheep producer of Shepherd Creek Farms and Youtube sensation ‘Sheepishly Me’, took the stage. Sandi began by introducing herself as a mom, wife, an d farmer. The daughter of a dairyman, she knew right away that her career would lie within the agricultural world. In 2012, she decided that she would get into the sheep industry. Not having any type of sheep knowledge or background, she knew right where to get her information from the start. She Googled it. Right or wrong, Sandi pointed out that this is how a lot of people in today’s world get their information. Some of the information was great, while some was misleading. After experiencing this first hand, she decided to share her story on what she had learned by using social media and thus Sheepishly Me was born.

    Today, Sandi has roughly 460 ewes with 25 rams on hand. Her flock consists of Suffolk, Ill de France, and Rideau Arcott sheep. Sandi maintains her highly prolific flock in an intensive system where all of her sheep reside under one roof in a large, open air hoop barn. This strategy allows for all sheep to be monitored on a daily basis in addition to receiving the highest level of care possible. Sandi credits some of her success in this type of a system to a bi-annual meeting that she has with her vet and a small group of producers utilizing the same system as her. During these sessions, producers share the analytics of their operation, set bench marks and compare to see how each of them fall. Once numbers are compared, information is shared upon how both the positive and perhaps negative numbers were achieved. In return, this system becomes an incredible learning tool and a management technique to keep everyone in check.

    Before ending her talk for Friday, Sandi left the audience with a couple pieces of wisdom from the barn. First, “sheep like to die and no one wants to hear that.” This is true for any type of livestock species. For those just getting started or those that have experienced this for a life time, it happens. She encourage the crowd to never get discouraged and continue to learn so that you can rectify the situation in the future. In my opinion, the most important thought was, “we need to take ourselves seriously.” This is a powerful message in itself. Rather than interpret it for you, I’m going to let this one set and let you take the reins on how it can be applied to you.

     Our second speaker for Friday's event was Cameron Lauwers, of Lauwers Lamb from Capac Michigan. Although not a first generation farmer, Cameron set himself apart from the rest of his family by being a first generation shepherd. Cameron also began his journey in the sheep industry in 2012. Today, Cameron has approximately 600 commercial (Polypay) ewes in a intensively managed system, with sheep being housed in retrofitted dairy barns on his family's farm. Some important notes that Cameron shared about his operation revolved around barn maintenance and set up for sheep. As a means to control the internal temperature, Cameron’s barn ceilings are lined with 8-10 in. of cellulose. This aids in holding in the heat, as he noted that there is about a 30 degree difference when compared to the outside temperature. In addition, efficient feeding is key. Cameron estimates that he allots approximately 8 seconds per ewe when feeding. Ensuring that you have the proper equipment and appropriate bunk management skills is a must.

    To conclude Fridays event, Dr. Luciana daCosta, Assistant Professor – Practice Extension Veterinarian – Dairy with the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University, joined the discussion to talk on a topic that many shepherds don’t consider – mastitis. Dr. daCosta began with discussing what mastitis is by illustrating that it is the inflammation of the mammary system rather than an infection. Mastitis is also a multi factorial disease and is caused by bacteria entering the mammary system as a result of dirty facilities and or physical injury. Udder and teat injuries can occur due to aggressive lambs, shearing, being stepped on, and much more. It is important to keep a close eye on your system to reduce these easily avoidable situations. For those that suspect that a ewe might have mastitis, Dr. daCosta stressed the importance of having it checked either by conducting your own California Mastitis Test (CMT) or consulting with your local veterinarian. In addition, it is important to understand the signs of mastitis. In many cases, sub-clinical infections (80%) go un-noticed. However, these cases will negatively affect the future performance of these ewes and their offspring.

    Once the Friday afternoon sessions were complete, once again the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium provided an opportunity for the industries youngest shepherds (18-40) to gather and connect at the Young Shepherds Assembly. This year's event also included past industry leadership and past OSIA presidents attended to share their thoughts on where the sheep industry has been and how they have seen it change over the years.

     Moving forward to Saturday morning, the day began with the annual OSIA board meeting. This meeting served as a milestone as it celebrated the 70th anniversary of the OSIA! At the conclusion of the meeting, Roger High, Executive Director of OSIA and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program (OSWP) gave a brief welcome. Into the sessions, the day began with a research update from the Department of Animal Sciences. Dr. Foltz, Department Chair, kicked off the update session with information regarding the merger of the Columbus and Wooster folks. Upon the sale of the sheep facility on Case Road in Columbus, the Department has moved forward by relocating sheep manager Gregg Fogle to Wooster along with the sheep and goats from Columbus. In doing so, the Department is better able to increase the value of our sheep flocks in terms of teaching and research. In addition to Dr. Foltz, graduate students Milca Rosa Velazquez and Ben Duran shared the research that they will be conducting in the areas of fetal programming and embryo transfer. Be sure to keep on eye out for these research summaries on our page as the information becomes available. To wrap up this session of research updates, myself and Noble County Extension Educator Christine Gelley, decided to highlight the research that we have been working on in the form of a video. For those that missed it, be sure to click this link to view!

     After the research update, the Symposium welcomed back Sandi Brock to share her journey of getting into the sheep industry. Sandi highlighted that the sheep industry in growing as demand continues to grow. In Toronto, Canada alone, approximately 60,000 new lamb eaters move to the city annually! This figure really demonstrates the need for lamb and lamb production. So for some, this may be enough to get into the sheep business, but Sandi warns you that there is more to raising sheep than what the internet shows. Here is a list of some of the ‘stuff that they don’t tell you’ when it comes to raising sheep.

    • according to Google, sheep farming should be easy
    •  sheep share germs
    • sheep die and you may not know why (SBI – Something Bad Inside)
    • Lambing is harder than it looks

    When getting into sheep farming, these are a few of the points that Sandi wishes she would have known. Therefore, so others would not have to struggle with getting into the industry and to be more transparent about what she does on a daily basis, she decided to share her story in any form that she could, which included her channel on Youtube tagged above and social media. At the conclusion of the Symposium, Sandi gave an overview of how she uses these channels of communication of connect with others. However, we’ll leave this information out and coin it as ‘I guess you had to be there’ for the details.

    Moving into the mid-day sessions, Delaware County Extension Educator Jacci Smith highlighted the importance of Ohio’s water quality. As we move forward in the agricultural industry, the topic of water quality will continue to be of high importance. In addition, Mark Lowery and Megan Burgess discussed the importance of following Ohio’s manure regulations. Although the sheep industry may not contribute greatly to the amount of manure generated in the state, having a plan in place on how to handle, store, and apply manure is a must. To wrap up the mornings sessions, those in attendance were given an update on the USDA Scrapie program from Dr. Mark Lyons.

    After a delicious  lamb loin lunch, the program foraged forward with the awards program. The highlight of the awards ceremony features the Charles Boyles Master Shepherd award. This award is given to a those that have served as leaders and supporters of Ohio’s sheep industry. This years Master Shepherd award was given to Bill and Susan Shultz of Bunker Hill Farms. To view the full video, follow this link! Following the awards ceremony, Lee Fitzsimmons of Wayne National Savings Bank covered the topic of how to connect with the appropriate people in order to sort out farm loans. In most cases, working with a local chain in a rural area may be of benefit as they will be more apt in understanding your needs.

    To conclude the days events, Cameron Lauwers came back to share how he feeds his sheep in an accelerated system. Due to the parameters of his system, on average a ewe at the Lauwers farm is open for approximately 19 days. Therefore, it is crucial that his nutritional program functions at a high level. In order to do so, Cameron isn’t afraid to think outside of the box and utilize alternative feedstuffs. Some feeds that Cameron has used in the past include beans, peas and oats, frost seeded clovers, BMR Sudangrass, Marestail, and cereal rye. Two notes of caution should be made. 1.) These feedstuffs are often made wet. Be sure to check moisture content, allow for appropriate fermentation, and always get your feeds tested. 2.) Mold can occur. Be sure that you are safely managing this by testing your feeds. An additional important note that Cameron makes is to be sure that you are feeding enough. Know the requirements for your sheep based upon breed, size, and stage of production. For those with questions on this topic, reach out to us here on the sheep team, we’d be more than happy to help!

    In an attempt to make this recap somewhat short, we’ll end here. Be sure to save the date, December 4-5, 2020, for next years event! Next year’s symposium will highlight Nutrition and Animal Performance. For those with suggestions for talks and or speakers, please contact myself so your suggestions can be shared with the planning committee. On behalf of the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium planning committee, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, and the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University, we would like to thank you for your attendance at this years event and support of Ohio’s sheep industry! Until next year, happy shepherding!

  17. Students Compete in AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest

    From November 22-24, undergraduate team Brook Friend, Amelia Lively, Maddie Pinkerton, Molly Sprankle, and Brietta Latham, along with individual graduate student Shannon Kelley, competed in the annual American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Contest hosted by Colorado State University. This is an international competition where students had the opportunity to learn about and assess the welfare of diverse species in both live and compared scenarios. Additionally, students also had the chance to meet and listen to a keynote presentation given by Master's Student Shannon KelleyDr. Temple Grandin. Graduate student Shannon Kelley placed 4th overall and placed 1st on the live assessment individually in the graduate division. A record 244 participants representing 25 universities competed in live and computer-based assessments of animal welfare in a variety of settings at the 19th annual AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest.

    Species covered in the 2019 contest included:

    • Broiler Chickens
    • Laboratory Zebrafish
    • Captive African painted dogs
    • Live Assessment: Livestock Sheep Slaughter

    *Contestants evaluated sheep in lairage, facility design, data/records, and effectiveness of captive bolt positioning. Live animal slaughter will not be assessed.

    Students with Dr. Temple Grandin

  18. Dairy Day Addresses Industry Issues

    The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Ohio State ATI hosted Dairy Day in Wooster, Ohio on Thursday, November 14th. Approximately 110 people attended the event held at the Secrest Welcome Center and the Krauss Dairy Center.

    Dairy Day addressed some of the key issues impacting the dairy industry and shared results from research conducted at Ohio State. Additionally, Dairy Day offered opportunities to meet with Ohio State faculty and staff and learn about changes in the dairy facilities at Wooster. The handout addressing updates at the Waterman Dairy Center, Krauss Dairy Center and the ATI Dairy Facility can be found here.

    The event started at Secrest Welcome Center with three keynote speakers: Ohio State Extension Specialist Dianne Shoemaker addressed "Roadmap to the Top Third: The 15
    Measures of Dairy Farm Competitiveness," Assistant Professor Dr. Luis Moraes discussed "A New Approach for Determining Metabolizable Protein Requirements of Lactating Cows," and Assistant Professor Dr. Chanhee Lee spoke about "Nutrient Management from Feed to Manure."  Afternoon sessions were held at the Krauss Dairy, with different researchers and staff in stations around the farm for short discussions and Q&A.

    The event had 12 industry sponsors: AEP Ohio Agriculture Program, Agpro, COBA/Select Sires, Elanco, Hill’s Supply, Hubner Seed, Immucell, Progressive Dairy Solutions, SCR, Semex, Smith Foods, Inc., and WG Dairy.

    Click on the images below to see the full Dairy Day brochure.

    Dairy Day Brochure page 1Dairy Day Brochure page 2

  19. 2019 Dairy Challenge

    By Maurice L. Eastridge

    Professor - Department of Animal Sciences

    The 2019 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 1-2 and was sponsored by ADM Animal Nutrition, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Provimi North America, Purina Animal Nutrition, Sexing Technologies, and Biomin. Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for students at Ohio State University to experience the process of evaluating management practices on a dairy farm and to interact with representatives in the dairy industry. The program is held in a contest format for undergraduate students whereby they are grouped into teams of three to four individuals. Veterinary and graduate students are invited to attend the farm visit and participate in a meeting later in the evening with the contest judges to discuss observations on the farm. The farm selected for the contest this year was the Mills Dairy Farm in Hayesville, OH owned by Greg and Mark Mills. They began milking nine cows in 1968 and have been milking cows continuously since then at the same location, even though facilities have been rebuilt from tornado and fire damages. They have about 1200 cows, and the cows are milked 2 times-a-day in a double 16 parallel parlor. The forages grown on the farm include corn silage, alfalfa, and rye. There were 65 undergraduate students (18 teams; 6 students from ATI, 5 students from Wilmington College, and 54 students from the Columbus campus), 6 veterinary students, and 7 graduate students that participated. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about two hours at the farm on Friday afternoon, interviewing the owner and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility.  During Friday evening, the undergraduate teams spent three to four hours reviewing their notes and farm records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities for the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation that had to be turned in on Friday evening. On Saturday, the undergraduate students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges for the program this year were Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Bob Hostetler (Sexing Technologies), Luis Moraes (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), Alan Chestnut (Cargill/Provimi), Tana Dennis (Cargill/Provimi), Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), Brian Lammers (ADM Animal Nutrition), Rich Nisen (ADM Animal Nutrition), Dwight Roseler (Purina Animal Nutrition), Benjamin Wenner (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), and Kelly Mitchell (Research Associate, Department of Animal Sciences). Shaun Wellert with ATI and Daryl Nash from Wilmington College also assisted with the program. The awards banquet was held on Saturday, November 2 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Columbus campus. The top team consisted of three ATI students: Owen Greene, Korey Oechsle, and Kenneth Ramsier. The second place team was from the Columbus campus and consisted of: Kylie Chronister, Brietta Latham, Katie O’Hara, and Sydney Sweet. The third place team was also from the Columbus campus and consisted of: Abby Bonnot, Marissa Farmer, Johnathan McCandlish, and Paul Bensman. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be held in Green Bay, WI during March 26-28, 2020. Students from ATI participated in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by Alfred State and held November 17-19, 2019 in Rochester, NY. Students from the Columbus campus will be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by University of Wisconsin-River Falls during February 12-14, 2020. The coach for the Dairy Challenge program at ATI is Dr. Shaun Wellert and Dr. Maurice Eastridge is the coach for the Columbus campus. Additional information about the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge program can be found at:

    A person standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera

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    First-Place Team (left to right): Korey Oechsle, Kenneth Ramsier, and Owen Greene.

    Second Place Team: Brietta Latham, Sydney Sweet, Kylie Chronister, and Katie O’Hara.

    Third Place Team: Johnathan McCandlish, Paul Bensman, Marissa Farmer, and Abby Bonnot.

  20. Alum Continues to be Valuable Resource to Faculty Member

    For several year, Professor Jim Kinder has invited Larry Piergallini, '77 BS in Animal Science, to speak to his classes. Dr. Kinder shared the following as to why he continues to invite Mr. Piergallini to his classes:

    Larry Piergallini is a former student and judging team member with which I worked at Ohio State in the mid-1970s. He and his wife, Carolyn, have become friends during the 40+ years since he was a student and judging team member. He is a highly successful lawyer representing land owners in the eastern Ohio sector where there has been a significant development in the fracking business. He also frequently represents troubled youth and those who might not otherwise have the capacity to procure legal assistance in cases that he perceives individuals have been treated unfairly or that were simply victims of unfortunate circumstances – because he thinks it is the right thing to do. He has developed a very strong reputation among the legal hierarchy in eastern Ohio for his moral and legal standards and is often called on by judges in the court system for consultation. As a result of his reputation, he is a member of the Board of Directors for a local bank and while I was at Ohio State ATI, a member of the External Advisory Committee.

    As a hobby, Larry farms – it is his passion some of which revolves around his hobby – showing Belgian horses which he has done pretty well from a financial perspective avoiding the glamour aspects of this endeavor. Even though I state this, he has an elderly Belgian stud that he has been offered, based on my recollection about $50,000 that he has yet to part with. He serves on the Board of Directors from the national Belgian Horse Association primarily providing consultation for the legal and financial realms – in listening to him there has been significant advances as a result of his inputs.

    Larry is one of the most humorous people I have ever known. Denva and I frequently have dinner with he and Carolyn and it is always a treat to do so because of the stories we hear of which I am sure are highly repetitive for Carolyn but she always seems to enjoy our times together. Larry is also a very good writer – expect that goes without saying considering his success as a lawyer – as evidenced in the two attachments that as indicated in his following message were published in the Draft Horse Journal. The messages  are humorous in many ways but with both articles there is a strong underlying message. I have invited Larry during my many years of affiliation at Ohio State to engage with our students and he is scheduled to meet with the AS3500 (Professionalism and Networking in the Animal Sciences) class next week. The title of his presentation is: Opportunities with a Law Degree in Agriculture and Thumb Rules for Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Career Endeavors, and Unethical Actions that are Detriments to Career Success. He sent me the two attached articles to share with students in preparation for his presentation next week. 

    Oh yes, I expect the artwork around these two articles (found here and here) was done by Larry, because at one time early in life he considered a career in art. It has been a true highlight in my trek down life’s pathway to have Larry as a friend and colleague. Hope you enjoy the reading of these two articles – I certainly did even though I have heard the verbal versions several times during my time with Larry.

    1976 Livestock Judging Team in 2016The college’s 1976 General Livestock Judging Team was recognized at the 2016 North American International Livestock Exposition in Kentucky. The event honors the National Championship Team 40 years prior.

    The 1976 team, coached by Jim Kinder, former director of Ohio State ATI, were represented by ten of the original 12 members and assistant coach Dave Higbea. In the picture, team members are: back row, left to right: Larry Piergallini, Dillonvale, Ohio; John Day, Georgetown, Kentucky; Dave Faulkner, St. Paris, Ohio; Farabee McCarthy, Sycamore, Ohio; Joy McCarthy, Sycamore, Ohio; and assistant coach Dave Higbea, Clay Center, Nebraska. In the front row, left to right: Lacy Boney, Lore City, Ohio; Mike Taylor, Springfield, Ohio; Tim Subler, Versailles, Ohio; Don Verhoff, Ottawa, Ohio; and George Clayton, Quincy, Ohio. The two team members that did not attend the recognition event are: Jeff Harding, Gallion, Ohio; and Steve Stitzlen, Grove City, Ohio.

  21. Students Compete at 53rd All American Quarter Horse Congress

    Nearly 200 college students from across the country travelled to Columbus, OH to judge at the largest single-breed horse show in the world, the 53rd All American Quarter Horse Congress. Ohio State students Ariana Sipes, Rachel Stanco and Gabby Waltz competed in the limited division and were required to judge 12 classes of conformation and various performance classes. By the end of the competition they captured top 10 and top 15 finalist awards in Halter Judging, Performance Judging and Reasons Awards! They are coached by animal sciences instructor and equine extension associate, Duane Stutzman as well as graduate student Cameron Hayden.  

    This contest gives students the ability to make rational decisions quickly and confidently by examining horses for selection. They identify and evaluate quality of movement & functional correctness and then place the classes objectively and were required to give oral reasons for their placings. Students interested in learning more about judging horses can enroll in ANIMSCI 3301 Equine Selection & Evaluation offered every fall semester. In addition, those interested in joining the growing team can email for more information.

  22. Plumb Hall Remodel Complete

    Animal Sciences hosted the grand opening of the Plumb Hall 220 remodel on September 28, 2019. Rooms 216 and 226 in Plumb Hall were combined to create one large multi-use class and conference room. The room has multiple screens and video conferencing capabilities. Ohio State Facilities also painted the hallways and installed new lighting.


  23. Foltz Interviewed on Town Hall Ohio

    Department Chair, Dr. John Foltz, was featured on Farm Bureau's Town Hall Ohio. He discussed the impact of animal sciences on food safety, environmental quality and human health. You can see the full interview here.