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U of M among four cooperating universities to receive $700,000 dairy grant

ST. PAUL -- The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with veterinary schools at the University of Illinois, University of Georgia, and Kansas State University, has received a grant for $700,000 to develop and implement a National Center of Excellence in Dairy Production Medicine Education for Veterinarians. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to be shared by the four partnering Universities.

"This grant provides a very exciting opportunity to bring educators and veterinary students together for enhanced production medicine training that would not be possible at a single institution," says Dr. John Fetrow, professor of dairy production medicine, and director of the center.

The money will be used to create a "center of excellence" as authorized in the 2008 federal agricultural appropriations bill. This national center will serve veterinary students from the four cooperating universities and function as a template for future centers.

The center will address the ongoing critical need for enhanced education for food animal medicine as the four universities develop and deliver a highly specialized and intensive series of training rotations for senior veterinary students pursuing careers in dairy veterinary medicine.

The four universities involved will also partner with the private sector through the U of M's Dairy Education Center. Through an affiliation with Davis Family Dairies LLC, and its sister company Davisco Foods International, the University of Minnesota has access to two state-of-the-art private dairy facilities with a combined total of 7,000 milk cows. Davis Family Dairies owns and operates the facilities while the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine provides health care to the herds as part of its teaching program for students interested in careers in dairy medicine.

Students from all four universities will live at the center during four two-week clinical rotations that focus on dairy health management, production systems, food safety, and food system security.