ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

081 Dairy Cattle Production Health Management CE Specialist

Proposed Location/Housing

Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, Tulare, CA

Proposed Area of Coverage



Associated Documents



July 10, 2014

Dr. Edward R. Atwill
Director, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security
Veterinary Medicine Extension Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Ecology Room 4207 Vet Med 3B
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA 95616

RE: 115 Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production081 Dairy Cattle Production Health Management CE Specialist; 070 Beef Cattle Herd Health and Production Specialist

Dear Dr. Atwill:

As State Veterinarian and Director for Animal Health and Food Safety Services, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), I am pleased to support the University of California, Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) call to hire sheep and goat, dairy cattle and beef cattle herd health and production specialists. These three positions are a critical resource for ranchers and dairy managers because they provide the interface between the latest advances in management and agricultural technology and the reality of what is occurring on the ranch or dairy. Their expertise is also instrumental to CDFA when developing and implementing regulatory policy.

Livestock, including dairy production remain top California agricultural commodities. California is the nation’s number one dairy production state, the markets for sheep and particularly for goats are strong and growing, and beef production remains a top five California agricultural commodity. Importantly, California ranches and dairies also continue to be an economic driver and employment stabilizer in many rural communities in California. As world economic development and concomitant increase in the demand for protein occurs over the next decade, the importance of optimizing livestock production will only grow.

These three livestock positions are needed to maintain this strong production sector as farmers and ranchers seek assistance with improving quality, animal care, environmental stewardship, food safety and production. They will help California maintain its competitive edge related to producing quality livestock and will help the University make significant scientific advancement in food production. The benefit to the University comes both from the scientific contribution of these specialists and also from their ability to tap into real-world livestock production that will benefit other University faculty.

We hope that ANR will act quickly to fill these three positions and we look forward to working with these Specialists well into the future.

Annette Jones, D.V.M.
State Veterinarian and Director

Posted Jul 10, 2014 10:42 AM by Annette Jones, DVM
Jim Sullins
County Director UCCE Tulare-Kings
Commenting as County Director UCCE Tulare Kings, these counties represent a very large portion of the milking herds in California. As the recent dairy economic crisis proved, many dairies are not prepared to make today’s challenging economic decisions. Most dairies are data rich, however do not have the understanding on how to analyze and make the best decisions from that data. Dairies contract with many specialist in health, nutrition, feed and waste management, however it is difficult for the dairy operator to bridge the complexities of each and balance the information they are developing. This position is positioned with the infrastructure of specialist and advisors to collaborate and work with and a huge industry with significant needs to be addressed. I support this position request and recommend it as a priority.
Posted Jul 14, 2014 4:42 PM by Jim Sullins
July 17, 2014

Dr. Rob Atwill
Director of Veterinary Medicine Extension
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
4207 Vet Med 3B
Davis, CA 95616-8736

RE: ANR CE Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management

Dear Dr. Atwill,

On behalf of the California Dairy Research Foundation, I am pleased to provide this letter of support for the position of Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management. The mission of CDRF is to lead and deliver best research and science-based educational programs towards an innovative and sustainable California and U.S. dairy industry. This position is vital to the California dairy industry remaining competitive, profitable and sustainable while improving the health and care of dairy cattle.

California is the #1 dairy state. Of the 123 proposed Cooperative Extension positions, this is the only Specialist position related to dairy cattle. Dairy producers, and their veterinarians, need to skillfully and in a timely manner evaluate dairy cattle health and welfare. They need to take the best available science and information and apply it to dairy cattle health and welfare problems in ways that can be critically evaluated to ensure sustainable and economically viable outcomes. This Specialist position will play a very important role in the translation and delivery of research programs and outcomes to the industry.

We look forward to working with the successful candidate.

Gonca Pasin, RD, PhD
Executive Director
Posted Jul 17, 2014 5:01 PM by Gonca Pasin
The California Farm Bureau Federation supports the position request for a Cooperative Extension (CE) Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management.

California, as of 2013, still ranks first in the nation in terms of value of its dairy production, but its dairy farmers face unrelenting economic burdens from myriad pressure points. Each year typically brings the industry more regulation at some affiliated cost, increased fees to cover implementation of existing regulations, higher expenses to grow or procure feed, heightened public expectations (e.g., greater restriction on antimicrobial use), and general increased costs for doing business in a state plagued with an historic drought. This present-day scenario points up the need for a Specialist who can spearhead the development and application of economic tools that farmers can use to make decisions improving the health and productivity of their herds to underpin the sustainability of their farming enterprises.

California is home to a mix of large and small dairies, organic and conventional, niche-market driven and not. Consequently, the proposed Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management would better ensure that this diversity in size and scope of farm will meet the consumer demand now and into the future. Farm Bureau has a statewide dairy advisory committee that advises our board of directors on dairy-related problems that hinder producer profitability, among other things. Whereas that committee and our Animal Health & Welfare Advisory Committee already make extensive use of CE specialists (Livestock Waste Management, Animal Welfare) as liaisons, the new Specialist could help our members troubleshoot the economic issues of their industry, develop new practical knowledge, and identify the resources that can resolve or reduce problems in dairy production health management.

The strength, relevance, and timeliness of our committees’ requested actions hinge on the quality and integrity of information received and debated. Specialists are invaluable to us for their contributions to discussions, analysis, policy development, and programming in and out of our advisory committee meeting structure. Specialists bring professional experiences, academic training, and different networks to the table to enable more robust debates and clarity of thought.

The important credibility factor inherent to UCCE is not replicated elsewhere in academia or industry; given the trustworthiness element of an Extension Specialist’s research and advice, we believe it important to approve for recruitment a new Dairy Cattle Production Health Management Specialist.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 3:56 PM by Ria de Grassi, Director, Livestock, Animal Health & Welfare, CA Farm Bureau Federation
Att: Dr. Rob Atwill, Director of Veterinary Medicine Extension

For the past decades, milk production growth in California has been remarkable, increasing an average of 1.4% per year from 1973 to 2009. However, in 2013, the total milk production was down (-1.3 %) as well as the number of dairy cows (-2.5%) and dairy farms (-4.3%) compared to 2012 records. In the past several years, dairy operations are struggling with volatile milk and feed prices, regulatory pressure for water and air quality, labor legislations, and herd health and food safety.

The CE Dairy Cattle Production Health Management Specialist will serve the dairy industry and the ANR mission by addressing two Strategic Initiatives:
Sustainable Food Systems: The old California dairy production model based on low inputs is being challenged. Nowadays, to be competitive, dairy producers have to focus on making management decisions that maximize production efficiency. The Dairy Cattle Production Health Management Specialist will contribute to the sustainable food systems by evaluating the economics of implementing new management strategies, and the early adoption of technological innovations.
Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases: emerging dairy cattle health and production issues pose a threat to healthy food systems. The Dairy Cattle Production Health Management Specialist will contribute to improved herd health and prevention of diseases by providing economical input on the implementation of disease control programs (such as mastitis, paratuberculosis, etc.) and improving cow comfort (facilities design, heat stress abetment systems).

This position will be conveniently located at the VMTRC in Tulare, the number one dairy county in the nation. This will facilitate direct networking with the allied dairy industry. Also, the VMTRC campus houses the California Animal Health Diagnostic Lab, providing the most updated information on emerging diseases.

As the chair and co-chair of the Dairy Health and Production Workgroup, we are very eager to support this position. We foresee UCCE Advisors, dairy producers, allied dairy industry, CE Specialists and faculty actively engaged in this position’s research and outreach extension program. If California is to maintain its leadership as the number one dairy state, it is critical to move forward with science based advice on management strategies and innovative technologies.

Dairy Health and Production Workgroup
Noelia Silva-del-Rio, Chair
Jennifer Heguy, Co-Chair
Posted Jul 21, 2014 9:46 AM by Noelia Silva-del-Rio
The following comments are provided on behalf of the Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroup :
The workgroup identifies the Dairy Cattle Production Health Management specialist position as an important position for California. Maintaining animal health and well-being is essential for all animal operations. There are numerous areas of research available related to dairy cattle health management. Producers generate ever increasing amounts of data and assistance in distilling data into manageable lists, action items, and areas of focus are critical for improvements in herd health management. The existing Dairy Advisor team has expertise in reproductive management, mastitis and milking equipment, nutrition, and herd management. Research faculty have expertise in disease and welfare(within Vet School), nutrition, genetics (selection to improve milk components), welfare, and environmental concerns (all within Animal Science), and economics (Managerial Economics). Enhancing the existing dairy team with a Production Health Management Specialist would provide more visibility for ANR with stakeholders and clientele as identified by Dr. Jones, our State Veterinarian.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 10:27 AM by Deanne Meyer
This specialist position would provide important support for the dairy industry. As California leads the nation in dairy production, it is vital to have specialist in dairy health that address the demands of this industry. At UC Davis our Veterinary Medicine Extension's purpose is to develop and disseminate to the people of California new knowledge about animal health and human health relative to animals or animal products. Where adequate know ledge is not available to characterize or solve a particular problem, Veterinary Extension specialists bring facts concerning the issue to the campus and foster research necessary to address the problem. This specialist position will complement and extend programs such as Dairy Cares and the Dairy Quality Assurance Program, which focus on sustainable agricultural practices and maximizing animal health that protect the dairy industry. The position will allow a stronger connection between the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory system and related programs to ensure continuity of our dairy industry when faced with problems from infectious disease threats to nutritional stress related to the drought. Finally, as the specialist will engage aligned units in Tulare County focused on the dairy industry in the highest producing region for dairy in the United States.


Michael D. Lairmore
Dean, UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
Posted Jul 21, 2014 11:28 AM by Michael Lairmore, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
July 21, 2014

Dr. Rob Atwill
Director of Veterinary Medicine Extension
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
4207 Vet Med 3B
Davis, CA 95616-8736

RE: ANR CE Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management

Dear Dr. Atwill,

"Grown and produced in California" remains a fundamental asset for our state, proudly representing the family farms that helped shape our state's cultural and economic foundations. Relative to brand-name recognition, it is difficult to find a more iconic symbol for agriculture then California’s "Happy Cows" and “It’s the Cheese” programs. Our state has the largest dairy industry in the country, with her 1.8 million cows producing 4.8 billion gallons of milk every year, resulting in $4.5 billion in farm sales and acting as an economic driver for some $63 billion in economic activity, including some 430,000 jobs.

At yet in spite of these impressive numbers, because of forces largely out of producers’ control, the state’s family farms frequently walk a tight-rope of insolvency.

Perhaps no stronger a case can be made for a ANR Dairy Economist extension position than the tragic financial, emotional and societal losses incurred by the California dairy industry resulting from the great economic recession spanning the years from 2008 to 2013. California lost approximately one fourth of its dairies in those years, spiraling to only the remaining 1,500 farms. Family dairies during the recession faced a cost-of-production that greatly exceeded the price paid to producers, a price set by state regulation. Due in large part to a collapse of international markets (some 10% of the states sales) and record high feed costs (corn skyrocketing from $170 to $300 per ton and alfalfa jumping from $190 to $340 per ton) some 400 dairies simply could not make it, closing or moving out of state.

In the San Joaquin valley alone, the number of dairy bankruptcies shot up with 10 in 2010, 24 in 2011 and 28 in the first six months of 2012. One feed company had more than 150 dairies on a cash-only basis. The situation became so dire that there were several producer suicides. Depression and stress became so rampant that our program, the CDQAP, conducted two webinars for people interacting with producers to help them recognize signs of depression and suicidal ideation.

All of this points the absolute necessity for the University of California to formalize a program for research and outreach relative to production and economic return. The ANR Dairy Economist extension position is the first, most important step in that direction.

For more than 17 years UCD and the industry/regulatory collaboration the Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) have provided timely outreach and education to the state’s dairy producers, addressing everything from compliance with air and water quality regulations to animal care to disaster mitigation. The program has had more than 12,000 in-person contacts and provided a 50% reduction in state water fees. Our partnership, which includes all the major processors and dairy service organizations, state and federal regulatory organizations and of course UC, are anxious to supply program support for this critical new addition to UC the ANR team.

Michael Payne DVM PhD
Director: California Dairy Quality Assurance Program
University of California - Davis

Posted Jul 21, 2014 12:14 PM by Michael Payne
As UCCE Dairy Advisor in the Northern Sacramento Valley, I wholeheartedly second the comments made by my colleagues on behalf of the Dairy Health & Production and Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroups. Our UCCE dairy team is in great need of a specialist who can focus on economically sound dairy production health decision making. Filling this void in our team will allow us to enhance the programs offered to our clientele and more completely address the important ANR strategic initiatives of Sustainable Food Systems and Endemic and Invasive Pest and Diseases. This position should be considered high priority to serve the number 1 dairy state.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 3:15 PM by Betsy Karle
Dr. Edward Atwill
Director, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security
Veterinary Medicine Extension Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Ecology
Room 4207 Vet Med 3B
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Dr. Atwill,
Western United Dairymen (WUD) is the largest dairy producer trade association in California representing the majority of California’s milk production. WUD eagerly supports the creation of the position of Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management to enhance the research activities of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center.
We believe the creation of this position is a welcome first step in the development of strategies to help California dairy producers remain viable and competitive and to improve the health and care of dairy cattle in ways that are profitable and sustainable. Dairy producers and their veterinarians need to be able to take the best available science and information and apply it to dairy cattle health and welfare problems in ways that can be critically evaluated to ensure sustainable and economically viable outcomes. This specialist will play a key role and provide leadership for helping to make this happen.

Dairy producers continually face challenges from endemic and emerging diseases associated with mastitis, reproduction, transition cow problems, heifer development and nutrition. The industry would look to this specialist to apply research that combines emerging treatment technologies, with preventive strategies to provide guidance for reducing disease and improving dairy cattle health, welfare, and productivity in ways that are economically efficient. New discoveries and technologies for dairy cattle health and production are continually being developed that require evaluation at the farm level; this specialist will have the training and skills to scientifically evaluate the benefits and costs of these technologies and to consider the long-term returns and investment value of these new technologies. These are just a few examples of the many ways that this dairy cattle production health management specialist can achieve important goals for making progress toward sustainable and efficient production of safe, healthy dairy products.

Western United Dairymen looks forward to a continued strong partnership with the University and the impact that it makes for its membership through shared goals of helping dairy producers to be profitable while maintaining the strong, positive public image of dairy farmers and we look to the creation of the dairy specialist position to enrich that partnership in coming years.

Very truly yours,
Michael Marsh, CPA
Chief Executive Officer
Western United Dairymen
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:05 PM by Western United Dairymen
July 21, 2014

Dr. Rob Atwill
Director of Veterinary Medicine Extension
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
4207 Vet Med 3B
Davis, CA 95616

Re: ANR CE Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management

Dear Dr. Atwill,

Dairy Cares strongly supports the filling of the proposed “Dairy Cattle Production Health Management CE Specialist” (CE Specialist) position at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC) in Tulare, California.

Dairy Cares is a coalition of California’s dairy producer and processor organizations, including the state’s largest trade associations (Western United Dairymen, California Dairy Campaign, Milk Producers Council and California Farm Bureau Federation) and the largest milk processing companies and cooperatives (California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America-Western Area Council, Land O’Lakes, Inc., and Hilmar Cheese Company). Formed in 2001, Dairy Cares represents more than 95 percent of the California dairy community and is dedicated to promoting the long-term sustainability of California family dairy farms.

A CE Specialist focused on dairy cattle production health will ensure California dairy farmers have the latest and best information available to keep their cows healthy and productive – a daily priority for our state’s dairy families. This position will also contribute to the health and wellness of the California dairy economy, an important driver in the overall economic health of California.

With nearly 1.8 million dairy cows producing 41.2 billion pounds of milk on 1,496 dairy farms, California accounts for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s milk supply, making it the leading dairy state. Dairy farming generates $63 billion of economic activity throughout the supply chain in the Golden State, stimulating a positive ripple effect throughout local communities by creating more than 400,000 jobs.

California dairy families have also made tremendous and impressive progress on a number of sustainability issues, such as air and water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy generation, and animal health and well-being. Continued progress depends upon credible research that yields sound science, which dairy farmers can rely on to make informed management decisions, especially those related to the health, productivity and well-being of their dairy cattle. The filling of the CE Specialist position will play an important role in California dairy families’ ability to remain on the cutting edge of innovative sustainable practices that are good for people, the planet, their animals and our economy.

We thank you for this opportunity to make comments on this important position and look forward to working with the CE Specialist at VMTRC in the future.

J.P. Cativiela
Program Coordinator
Dairy Cares
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:28 PM by J.P. Cativiela, Dairy Cares Program Coordinator
Dr. Edward R. Atwill
Director, Veterinary Medicine Extension
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

RE: 081 Dairy Cattle Production Health Management CE Specialist

Dear Dr. Atwill,

California is responsible for more than 20% of the U.S. milk supply and has been the nation’s leading dairy state since 1993 when it surpassed Wisconsin. Based on the most recent data, about 40% of total U.S. dairy product exports come from California. This rise in dairy industry leadership began back in 1970’s, when California’s dairy herd structure grew toward large, efficient herds that became a model for the rest of the nation. Dairy cattle disease control programs for the most important and economically-limiting diseases, such as mastitis and reproductive inefficiency, were developed with an emphasis on a proactive herd health approach that stressed prevention over treatment. Dissemination and outreach of the best scientific findings and dairy production medicine knowledge played a vital role in enabling the California dairy industry to reach significant milestones of achievement for providing a plentiful, safe, wholesome, and affordable supply of milk and dairy products.

During the past few years, fundamental shifts have occurred in the dairy industry which have created new problems and opportunities. Markets for milk and the prices paid to dairy producers have become more volatile. Input costs for producing milk, especially for feed, have significantly increased. Regulatory requirements have added both fixed and variable costs to the dairy cattle enterprise. Increased concerns about dairy cattle welfare and environmental health have placed additional resource requirements on the needs and efforts for raising dairy cattle and producing milk. All of these factors have come together in a way that profoundly underscores the serious need for this Dairy Cattle Health Production Management Specialist. The timing is critical for recruiting a specialist who will focus on the economics of dairy cattle health and production if the California dairy industry is to continue its leadership role and foster sustainable dairy cattle and milk production systems.

This specialist in Dairy Cattle Health Production Management will fill the ‘missing link’ in the continuum of research, discovery, dissemination, extension, and outreach needed for achieving the greatest impact for Cooperative Extension strategies, goals, and objectives pertaining to dairy cattle and milk production. No other UC ANR specialist will have this unique focus on the economics of dairy cattle herd health and production. This specialist will play an important synergistic role through collaborative efforts with the existing team of dairy advisors, specialists, faculty, and researchers who have an interest and focus on the California dairy industry.

This specialist will be strategically located in the center of California’s dairy cattle industry at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC) located at the Tulare Campus. This specialist would join Dr. Noelia Silva-del-Rio, Dairy Herd Health and Food Safety Extension Veterinarian and Chair of the Dairy Health and Production Workgroup, at the VMTRC. As VMTRC Director, I would ensure that this specialist has the necessary infrastructure to be successful in addition to promoting collaborative efforts with the VMTRC Dairy Production Medicine faculty members and clinicians. Although the main office of the Dairy Cattle Health Production Management Specialist would be located at Tulare, this specialist would also have office space assigned at the Davis Campus in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Electronic technology would enable this specialist to reach and engage stakeholders across California and beyond.

Thank you in advance for your support and promotion of this Specialist in Dairy Cattle Production Health Management.


Terry Lehenbauer
Associate Professor and Director
Tulare, California
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:53 PM by Terry Lehenbauer

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