CFANS Connections - June 2017

More than 400 CFANS graduates were honored during commencement ceremonies held May 12 in Mariucci Arena. Highlights included words of encouragement from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Undergraduate Student Board President Rachel Kircher, student speaker Ellie Bauer, commencement speaker and alumna Alise Sjostrom ‘09 of Redhead Creamery, and Alumni Society President Larry Thomas ‘82. Watch the ceremony online. On April 28, nearly 100 CFANS graduate students celebrated their commencement along with commencement speaker and alumna Shefali Mehta '07 of Open Rivers Consulting Associates.  Watch the graduate ceremony online

The nearly 600 CFANS students who graduated this spring have much to be proud of. What’s next for some of CFANS's newly minted alumni?


CFANS Graduation

Brazil is a global agricultural powerhouse, and Minnesota is a large agricultural state, ranking fifth in the United States by value of agricultural production. Both places confront many common agricultural problems that can mutually benefit from strategic collaboration in research and development (R&D).  Minnesota and Brazil are joining forces to tackle problems of viable productivity growth in agriculture, sustainably.  A novel Labex-Flex-UMN partnership between Brazil and Minnesota will be officially launched at a conference to be held at the University of Minnesota (UMN), St. Paul campus.

More . . .



Get Involved

Connect and learn!  Events include:

June 3 - Mite Management Clinic
June 13 - Midwest Farm Energy Conference
June 17 - Summer Solar Picnics
June 22 - Gala Garden Party
June 28 - Soil Health Field Day
July 7 - Golf Scramble for Scholarships


Does your company or organization need an intern or entry-level talent?

Hiring expert talent is competitive right now and quality employees are hard to find. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences has highly trained undergraduates and graduate students in your industry that want to make a difference in your company. Register your company now to attend the Ag, Food, Business Career Fair on September 27th to connect with students who are looking for summer 2018 internships and full-time employment. This is the premier agriculture, food and business recruiting event at the University of Minnesota.


Ag Food Business Career Fair

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association and the University of Minnesota Foundation are conducting a survey of our alumni and friends who are living outside of the U.S. We value your opinion! Your response to this survey will help guide the planning for upcoming opportunities to connect with our alumni and friends abroad.

Please take the survey today. Thank you!

The CFANS Alumni Society will be hosting its 14th annual Golf Scramble fundraiser on Friday, July 7 at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course. Over the past 13 years, this event has raised nearly $350,000 for scholarships for CFANS students. You can participate by golfing, donating an item to the silent auction, volunteering at the event, or making a contribution to the scholarship fund!



Several years ago, hosting a kick-off event for nearly 200 mentors and mentees at the beginning of the school year seemed like an impossible financial obstacle for the CFANS Alumni Society and its annual Mentor Program. Because of the 15 or so organizations and companies that participate in Alumni Society Sponsorship, not only has the Mentor Program expanded, but sponsorships have also increased the funds available for undergraduate and graduate scholarships.



CFANS AS Sponsor List

Becoming a Life Member of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association just got easier. Rather than paying your dues in one lump sum, sign up for a budget-friendly 10-month payment plan. By making this small change, you will be making a big difference.

"I made the decision to invest in a lifetime membership early in my alumni-hood because I knew I wanted to stay connected to the University. ...It was a decision I know I'll never regret." - Myah Walker '10 (B.S. Animal Science) 


CFANS Updates

The 2017 Minnesota Youth Institute on May 15th attracted almost 150 students and their teachers. The program, which has been hosted by CFANS since 2008, engaged high school students in solving local and global hunger issues.


mn youth institute

Within the Plant Pathology department here at the University of Minnesota, educational videos have been produced on two plant diseases recently. The Blanchette Lab has produced videos about an invasive fungal root rot disease that poses a serious threat to red and white pine trees as well as other conifers. Josh Havill, M.S. student for the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota provides background information about hop powdery mildew and ways to manage/prevent hop powdery mildew in Minnesotan hopyards in his educational video.


hop powdery mildew

For the last three years, Emily Ellingson (Applied Plant Sciences, M.S.) has spent her days studying and growing a single type of tree: the eastern hemlock. Ellingson, who is advised by Stan Hokanson and Jim Bradeen, is utilizing microsatellite markers to determine genetic diversity within Minnesota’s native eastern hemlock population in the hopes of improving conservation efforts for the tree.


emily ellingson

Realizing the importance of educating future researchers that the state, country and world will need, Richard Magnusson, a 2014 Siehl Prize Laureate, has gifted his award from that prize to start the Minnesota Turf Seed Growers Recruitment Fund.


Richard Magnusson

After more than 20 years of celebrating the impact of Eldon Siehl's legacy with the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture, it’s time to increase its role and purpose. To accomplish this ambitious goal, the annual May celebration will not be held and instead, we ask you to share your thoughts and ideas at this link.

More . . .

Researchers at the University of Minnesota are currently at the forefront of research regarding the reuse of waste ash from the Metro Plant as a possible fertilizer for crops like corn and soybeans. The plant, which is the biggest wastewater treatment facility in Minneapolis, burns the sludge that remains after the entire wastewater treatment process is completed. U of M research is testing the ash's potential as a fertilizer.



Class Notes

Eric Schroeder graduated from CFANS with a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics in 1992. As Chief Administrative Officer at the Great Plains Institute, he loves “the opportunity to provide the infrastructure that enables talented and entrepreneurial individuals to thrive.”   


Eric Schroeder

It costs as much as $140 million for Monsanto to release a new genetically modified crop, and from start to finish Angela Hendrickson Culler ‘07 ensures that crop is safe for people, animals, and the environment. Culler is the lead for Monsanto’s U.S. Biotech Regulatory Affairs department and was recently named one of the Saint Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to their businesses and community. She manages a team of 25 people and is responsible for obtaining and maintaining global regulatory approvals for a $10 billion product portfolio. Culler received her Ph.D. in Plant Biological Sciences from the University of Minnesota’s joint degree program between the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Biological Sciences in 2007.


Angela Hendrickson Culler

In 1905, John Vincent Bailey Jr., a member of the School of Agriculture’s class of 1896, eagerly launched a vegetable production business with $10 seed capital. From that humble beginning, Bailey Nurseries has grown to become one of the nation’s largest nurseries. Today, Bailey’s statistical accomplishments are impressive — more than 800 varieties of woody plants, as well as hundreds of annuals and perennials; annual production of two million shade trees, five million shrubs, one million hardy shrub roses, 400,000 fruit trees, and 200,000 flats of bedding plants. Even more impressive than the numbers, however, is the company’s dedication to the land and the people who have fueled their success.  The company's recent feature in the Star Tribune showcases the company's family story and its continued innovation. 


Bailey Nurseries

Matthew Eichler, Ph.D. '00 and his colleagues at Texas State University have recently received nearly $400,000 in federal grants to support agricultural education efforts in Texas.  Eichler is an associate professor and coordinator of graduate programs in Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies at Texas State University, and received his Bachelors in Agricultural Education in 2000 from CFANS. 



University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) staff matches third and fourth year college students with local companies and municipalities that want assistance with addressing long-term challenges. Most of the interns are students from the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. Many are majoring in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and environmental health.

Being a MnTAP intern strongly influenced Nathan Landwehr’s career plans. He completed internships in 2015 and 2016 before earning his Bachelors degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the U and becoming MnTAP's internship program administrator. 



Crystal Siemers-Peterman '17 has been named Wisconsin's 70th Alice in Dairyland following a ceremony at Lambeau Field on May 14. Alice in Dairyland is a full-time public relations professional employed by the state's division of agricultural development. Each year, she travels more than 40,000 miles throughout the state and nation, promoting Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages and types. Siemers-Peterman recently completed her Bachelors degree in Agricultural and Food Business Management with a minor in Marketing.



Former head of the Department Agronomy and Plant Genetics, honored veteran, respected professor, and beloved family-man Orvin Burnside passed away on May 29, 2017. Orvin was born on June 9th, 1932 and raised on a dairy farm in Hawley, Minnesota. He grew up surrounded by his nine siblings and adoring parents. Orvin enlisted in the army during the Korean War where he served as a Army Officer, eventually achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the Central Intelligence Corps. He taught at UNL as a professor of weed science for many years before returning to his home state of Minnesota. There he accepted the position of Department Head of Agronomy & Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

More . . . 

Orvin Burnside

Professor Emeritus Dale Dahl received his Ph.D in Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1964. Dahl served for 39 years as a professor in the Department of Applied Economics and adjunct professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School. 


dale dahl

A Siehl Prize Laureate, proud FarmHouser, former Honorary Consul to Uruguay, and 3-time University of Minnesota alumnus, Diesch was a beloved leader and collaborator. Diesch received his Bachelors of Science from what was then called the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics in 1951. He then received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956 and his Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health in 1963.  



Arvid Knudtson '50, '54, '57, prominent CFANS graduate and winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award for alumni, passed away on May 26, 2017. Born in Chisholm, Minnesota, Arvid will be remembered as a savvy businessman, admired mentor, loving father and adored husband. Arvid began a lifelong affair with academics at Hibbing Junior College, where he worked towards a bachelor's degree and ran a feed store. He then moved to Minneapolis to complete his degree at the University of Minnesota. He would go on to receive a master's degree as well as a Doctorate in Agricultural Economics at the U.

More  . . .

Arvid Knudtson

The North American swine industry suffered a great loss on Tuesday, May 2, as Bob Morrison, University of Minnesota veterinary professor, was killed in a two-vehicle accident in the Czech Republic.

Two others traveling with Morrison were also killed that afternoon when the vehicle they were in collided with another vehicle, according to the Associated Press. Also killed in the accident were Pam Wetzell and Deb Spronk.



Marlyn William Wacholz '69 received his Master's Degree from the University of Minnesota. He was born in Mansfield, Minnesota on his family's farm. Marlyn taught agriculture and farm management to high school students for 15 years, before moving on to work at various institutions of higher education across Minnesota. He eventually became the president of Riverland Technical college in Rochester, Minnesota. Marlyn was a proud leader in the Future Farmers of America and was inducted into their hall of fame for his exceptional work.

More  . . .

Marlyn Wacholz

Alumni Trivia

The monthly alumni trivia question gives alumni and friends an opportunity to test their U of M knowledge. Are you up for the challenge?

June alumni trivia question:

Each year nearly 500 seniors graduate from the college and go on to pursue employment, internships, graduate school, service opportunities, and much more.

For 2015-16 grads, what percentage of students are employed or pursuing additional education 6 months after graduation?*


CFANS Graduation Johanna Casey