Livestock briefs

Wisconsin State Farmer
Livestock Briefs


PQA Plus Site Assessment Rebates

The Wisconsin Pork Association and National Pork Board are encouraging all producers and employees to become Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA) Plus certified and achieve PQA Plus Site Status. The PQA Plus program serves to educate producers and farm employees to help ensure U.S. pork products are of the highest quality and safety, and animals raised for food are cared for in a way that promotes their well-being.

To help offset the cost of an on-farm site assessment, WPA is offering a $75 rebate to Wisconsin pork producers who complete a PQA Plus site assessment. The rebates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis through December 15.

Producers can download the rebate form at or contact the WPA office at 1-800-822-7675 to have a copy mailed. To locate a PQA Plus advisor near you visit or call the WPA office.


National Mastitis Council selects 2017 scholars

The National Mastitis Council (NMC) Scholars Selection Committee chose Sefinew Mekonnen, Utrecht University; Kruthika Patel, University of Minnesota; Rienkje van Hoeij, Wageningen University; and Amy Vasquez, Cornell University, as the 2017 NMC Scholars.

This program recognizes full-time graduate students interested in controlling mastitis, promoting udder health and improving milk quality. The recipients receive an expense-paid trip to attend the National Mastitis Council 56th Annual Meeting, Jan. 29-31, 2017, in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

Mekonnen spent six years as a field veterinarian in Ethiopia before embarking on a master’s degree in veterinary microbiology and teaching veterinary clinical medicine courses. He explained that the support of veterinary service to Ethiopian dairy farmers is not systematically designed, so he wants to improve this situation.

To achieve that ambition, Mekonnen is a PhD candidate, aiming to identify effective strategies for management and control of mastitis. His research identifies bacterial causes of mastitis and their transmission dynamics by using biochemical and molecular techniques.

A native of India, Patel developed an interest in microbiology and mastitis as a fourth year veterinary medicine student. During her clinical training at the teaching hospital, she encountered many cases of mastitis – India’s most common dairy cattle disease.

In Minnesota, she managed and completed a pilot study that evaluated the effect of applying selective dry cow therapy, at the quarter level, on measures of udder health and antimicrobial use, as compared to blanket dry cow therapy. For her major thesis project, Patel is investigating the relationship between bedding bacterial counts and udder health on more than 200 U.S. dairy farms in 19 states.

Following veterinary school, van Hoeij embarked on a doctoral program to gain experience as a professional researcher, in preparation for a scientific career in academia or industry. Her tailored dry period research evaluates the effect of a shortened or omitted dry period on elevations of somatic cell count, intramammary infections and occurrence of mastitis in the dry period and subsequent lactation.

At the 2015 Animal Nutrition Research Forum in Belgium, van Hoeij won the best presenter award. She also presented research at the European College of Bovine Health Management and American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting.

As a PhD candidate working with the Quality Milk Production Services staff, Vasquez observes environmental factors and cow interactions on dairies and subsequently uses tangible microbiological results to recommend treatments on a case-by-case basis or herd-level recommendations based on the typical pathogens.

Concerned about the limited number of science-based herd health protocols, Vasquez is involved in a selective dry cow therapy trial, which uses a culture-independent, computer-adaptable algorithm that is easily used on farm. Before moving back to New York, Vasquez worked as a veterinarian in California and taught at Modesto Junior College.

NMC is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.


Beef Direct Marketing Meeting set

Jefferson, Walworth, and Rock County UW-Extension offices will be hosting a Beef Direct Marketing workshop as part of a Statewide Beef Producer Series.

Agriculture agents from UW-Extension and a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will be presenting information on how to get started marketing, marketing to new clients, retaining existing clients, and the regulations of marketing your products. This program would be of interest to any farmers that are interested or already are marketing their own beef.

The workshop will begin at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, September 21, at Sorg Farm Packing, located at N4290 US-14, Darien, WI. The registration fee is $10. The workshop will feature a tour of Sorg Farm Packing and a smoked brisket sandwich, followed by the educational program.

Attendees that are BQA certified will receive 1 BQA continuing education credit.

Pre-registration is requested by Friday, Sept. 15. To register, call or email Kim at 920-674-7297 or Provide first and last name, address, phone number, email address and how many people are attending.

For more information, feel free to contact your local UW-Extension Office: Kristine Ely (Walworth County) 262-741-4968 or LaVern Georgson (Jefferson County) 920-674-7295 or Nick Baker (Rock County) 608-757-5698.

This program is being organized and sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service. University of Wisconsin-Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.