Dairy Education Center

Dairy Production Medicine Programs

In 2011, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was designated by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture as the first ever National Center of Excellence in Dairy Veterinary Medicine. The purpose of this Center was to address the ongoing critical need for more intensive and specialized training for senior veterinary students interested in pursuing careers in dairy veterinary medicine. A team of faculty from the University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, University of Georgia, and Kansas State University developed a unique curriculum in dairy production medicine to be offered to senior students from veterinary schools in North America and around the world.

Production medicine is the application of a wide array of knowledge and skills to dairy herd management with the aim of optimizing animal health and welfare, production, and profitability on the dairy. Dairy veterinarians must utilize this wide variety of knowledge and skills to best serve their dairy clients in a constantly changing dairy economy. Simply diagnosing pregnancy, performing surgeries and treating sick cows will not be enough to maintain the veterinarian's role on the dairies of tomorrow.  To that end, this program aims to increase the proficiency and confidence of veterinary students to serve the dairy industry at a higher level, by focusing on topics such as:

  • preventive medicine and disease control
  • reproductive programs
  • animal husbandry
  • nutrition
  • mastitis and milking system evaluation
  • epidemiology
  • lameness prevention and treatment
  • food safety
  • human resource management
  • dairy records analysis  
  • economic decision-making
  • transition cow management
  • housing and facilities evaluation
  • communication and leadership skills 

In its current form, this curriculum is offered in two rotations:

Overview of Dairy Production Medicine (ODPM)

This two-week rotation is an intensive introduction to dairy production medicine, and is intended both as a general overview for students who will go on to become mixed animal practitioners, and as the foundation for exclusive dairy students who will go on to the advanced rotation. This rotation is based at the St. Paul campus, and includes classroom instruction, student projects, hands-on labs, and field trips to local dairies.

ODPM Sample Schedule

Advanced Dairy Production Medicine (ADPM)

ADPM is a four-week program designed to build advanced knowledge and skills in dairy production medicine for students who will go on to exclusively or predominantly dairy practice. Students who complete this program will have a working knowledge of DairyComp 305, and be able to thoroughly evaluate a dairy and provide recommendations regarding transition, nutrition, reproduction, youngstock and milk quality management. Students will visit multiple dairies to practice these skills, and will complete a capstone project in which they will work more intensively with one dairy to develop not just recommendations, but work plans, protocols and partial budgets to help the dairy meet their goals. A key element of the capstone project is developing a working relationship with the on-farm team and practicing professional written and verbal communication skills. Faculty and guest presenters in this program include not just UMN CVM faculty, but also a variety of experts from other universities, private practice and industry. This rotation is based at the Dairy Education Center in Nicollet, MN.

ADPM Sample Schedule

Prospective Students

2019 Program Dates (intended for Class of 2020):

Overview Course: May 6-17, 2019 (2 weeks)
Advanced Course: July 1-26, 2019 (4 weeks)

Cost

Although we work to raise funds from the private sector to underwrite program costs, we still expect that students will need to contribute up to $2,750 for their enrollment ($750 for Introductory, housing not included; $2,000 for Advanced, housing included). If needed, students are encouraged to seek scholarship or grant assistance from sources like the AABP or from their own college. Students interested in this program are eligible for financial support from the AABP educational grant, details at http://aabp.org/Students/EducationFundDesc.asp.

Application

The goal of these programs is to train future dairy veterinarians in production medicine. They are designed to provide intense immersion in an array of subjects that will be essential for dairy veterinarians in the future. Although students may have variable experience in dairy production medicine coming into the rotations, they are expected to have a strong interest in and commitment to dairy practice. External students may apply to either or both of the rotations, but must demonstrate some background knowledge in dairy production medicine to qualify for ADPM alone. These are for-credit rotations and students will be evaluated based on their participation and academic performance. To apply for these rotations, please submit your resume, a 1-page letter of interest detailing your experience and interest in dairy production medicine, and a letter of reference from a faculty member to:

Jessica Yost
Dairy Education Center
43475 County Rd. 15
Nicollet, MN 56082
yost@umn.edu

Please note, as these are not clinical (sick cow) rotations, students with limited clinical skills in dairy veterinary medicine should not forfeit all other opportunities for clinical education in favor of this program.

Application Deadline November 1st, 2018. You will be notified by December 31st if you are selected.