Campus news

Dairy JudgingUniversity of Minnesota dominates the competition at World Dairy Expo

University of Minnesota and CFANS student members of the dairy cattle judging team had a very good week at the World Dairy Expo. The four-member team dominated a national competition by 54 points and won first-place awards in four team competitions and five of seven individual contests.

The team’s margin of victory at the Dairy Expo, held this week in Madison, Wis., is the second-largest in history. The Minnesota team also placed first in oral reasons; Holstein (by a 17-point margin); Jersey (by a 17-point margin); and Red & White (by a 16-point margin). Team members also placed first overall individually in 5 of the 7 breeds of cattle in the judging contest.

U of M team members and their hometowns are Vincent Migliazzo, of Atwater, CA; Nathan Donnay, of Glencoe, MN; Eric Houdek, of Caledonia, MN; and Matthew Hanson, of Goodridge, MN. Coaches for the team are Professor Les Hansen, Scott Ellinghuysen and Alicia Thurk. Sixty-nine 4-year collegiate students competed in the contest. Read more.

Kim Reno accepts Office Manager position in CFANS Student Services OfficeKim Reno

Kim Reno has accepted an Office Manager position in the CFANS Student Services Office, transitioning from her role as Animal Science Graduate Program Coordinator.  She began working for the Department of Animal Science in November of 1996.  She starts her new position on October 5.

Ag Ed Division Adds New Major

The Agricultural Education division is pleased to announce that a new major: Agricultural Communication & Marketing (ACM)! ACM is a unique program that helps students combine an interest in and passion for food, agricultural and natural resource sciences with fundamental real-world skills in communication, education, and leadership. 

The ACM major prepares students for careers in agricultural communication, journalism, marketing, sales, training, management, leadership, business, and extension. Agribusinesses, as well as state, federal, and marketing agencies, need individuals who have a broad education in the scientific (and technical) aspects of agriculture, effective work and communication skills, and quantitative and qualitative skills to solve business problems.

All Agricultural Communication & Marketing majors select one of three areas to specialize in, depending on their interests: Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources, Crops and Soils, or Food Industries. Along with a specialized track, students still have the flexibility to use 21 free electives to pursue a minor!

Visit to learn more about the ACM major, along with Ag Ed's teacher licensure major.

University of Minnesota Soil Judging Team Takes 1st Place 

Soils TeamIn one of the tightest competitions in years, the University of Minnesota won the overall Region V Collegiate Soil Judging Contest with 1,917 points. Team Captain Rusty Zimmerman lead Teng Vang, Sondra Larson, Amanda Wolff, Nick Vetsch, Luke Ratner, Leslee Jackson, and Andrea Williams to success through a challenging week. 

The regional competition was hosted at the Marcell Experimental Forest, about 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids. The team described a wide variety of soils during practice pits and the competition, including taking a peat core in a boreal bog. 

Next up is the National Competition, which will be held in Manhattan, Kansas this year in the spring.

Dr. Julie Grossman honored as 2015 Emerging Leader in Plant SciencesJulie Grossman

Dr. Julie Grossman '98 '03, assistant professor in biological and sustainable horticulture, has been named the 2015 University of Minnesota Emerging Leader in Plant Sciences.  This award seeks to recognize an emerging leader in the plant sciences with characteristics and values that reflect Dr. Norman Borlaug’s legacy. Awardees are recent graduates of the University of Minnesota’s Applied Plant Sciences Program and are recognized for their record of impactful and innovative research in the plant sciences or related fields and strong commitment to social impact and leadership within their respective research communities and beyond.

Dr. Grossman joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences last year.  She holds an M.S. in Soil Science and Ph.D. in Agronomy and Plant Genetics from the University of Minnesota, and was a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow at Cornell University.  Her research broadly explores ways to better manage plant-soil-microbe relationships in order to enhance soil fertility through microbial processes, with the ultimate goal of developing sustainable food production systems. A central thread through her work is the examination of winter annual legume cover crops to help maintain landscape diversity and tighten nutrient cycling in agroecosystems. Learn more about Dr. Julie Grossman. 

Dr. Grossman will give a talk on her research in 306 Borlaug Hall on the St. Paul Campus on October 12, 2015 at 10:30 AM. This presentation is titled “A view from below: Harnessing Soil Science for Securing Food in a Time of Uncertainty.” All are welcome to attend.