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Meet Our Authors – Dairy Performance Blog
Jarrod Blackburn is a Vita Plus dairy specialist in central Wisconsin. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Inman, Kansas, and attended Kansas State University for his bachelor’s degree in animal science and industry. After a few years as a location service specialist with a farm cooperative, Blackburn returned to KSU to earn his master’s degree in dairy cattle nutrition. During his graduate studies, Blackburn worked as the KSU Dairy Cattle Judging coach and as a graduate teaching assistant, taking the lead on various dairy nutrition research projects. He joined Vita Plus in 2019. Read Blackburn's most recent article.
Dr. Darin Bremmer grew up on a farm in Shannon, Illinois. After high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and received a bachelor's degree in animal science in 1993. From 1993 to 1995, he attended the University of Illinois and received a master's in animal science with an emphasis in ruminant nutrition. Bremmer then completed a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences with an emphasis in animal nutrition and a minor in dairy science from UW-Madison in December 1999. In Dr. Grummer’s laboratory at UW-Madison, Bremmer’s research focused on transition cows, studying ketosis and fatty liver. After completing his Ph.D., Bremmer worked for a major feed company as a dairy nutritionist and technical services manager in Wisconsin. In March 2003, he joined Vita Plus as part of the dairy nutrition and technical services team based in central Wisconsin. Read Bremmer's most recent article.
Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian is a Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical service specialist. Chang-Der Bedrosian earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in animal science at the University of Delaware. She continued there to earn her Ph.D. in animal and food science, specializing in forage research with Dr. Limin Kung. Her thesis research centered on the use of a protease to improve starch digestibility earlier in the ensiling process. A New Jersey native, Chang-Der Bedrosian gained much of her farm experience during her collegiate years, milking cows, working in a forage laboratory, and performing dairy research. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Chang-Der Bedrosian's responsibilities at Vita Plus include forage product research and development, dairy research, and dairy technical services. Read Chang-Der Bedrosian's most recent article.
Peter Coyne is a dairy field service specialist and sales manager in northwest Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. With a passion for dairy, he has extensive personal experience in dairy farm management and shares his expert knowledge with dairy producers in his area. Coyne works closely with farm employees to boost feeding efficiency, animal husbandry and management techniques. He provides consulting and training in nutrition and production management to dairy producers as well as Vita Plus staff and dealer partners. Coyne is also well respected as an expert in the dairy cattle showring. Read Coyne's most recent article.
Brittany Gevelinger is a dairy specialist at Vita Plus Dodgeville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in dairy science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2009. She continued her education at Virginia Tech and completed her master’s degree in dairy science in 2011. Her research included evaluating feed ingredient variation and on-farm troubleshooting of feed management software. She conducted whole-farm nutrient balance assessments and recommended feed management and business model options to improve farm management. Before joining Vita Plus, Gevelinger worked as a feed technology specialist based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and provided dairy ration formulation, feed formulation, and technical assistance. Read Gevelinger's most recent article.
Randy Greenfield is the Vita Plus vice president sales and business development, overseeing sales staff and seeking new opportunities for Vita Plus to add value to domestic livestock industries. He also works closely with dairy producers to help them strengthen their nutrition and management programs. Greenfield grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Waupun, Wis. and attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to earn his bachelor’s degree. He went on to receive his master’s degree from Purdue University. In addition to nutrition, Greenfield has taken a special interest in dairy records and business consulting. Read Greenfield's most recent article.
Al Gunderson served as the Vita Plus vice president of sales and marketing prior to his retirement in 2021. He served as the general sales manager since 1987 and added purchasing to his responsibilities in 1999. Gunderson first came to Vita Plus in 1979 as the swine product manager after he earned a bachelor’s degree in meat and animal sciences and master’s degree in ag business management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Sciences (ARPAS) and the American Society of Animal Sciences (ASAS). Gunderson served as chair of the board of directors of the American Feed Industry Association and chairman of the board of trustees for the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER). Read Gunderson's most recent article.
Bob Hagenow is a sales manager with Vita Plus and has been an employee owner for more than 25 years. He grew up in eastern Wisconsin on a registered Holstein dairy farm and actively participated in 4-H and FFA. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees. In addition to his nutrition and farm consultation responsibilities, Hagenow is involved in training and recruiting at Vita Plus. He is actively involved in numerous organizations and is well networked throughout the dairy industry. Read Hagenow's most recent article.
Ann Hoskins is a Vita Plus sales manager and calf products coordinator. She grew up on a dairy farm in DeForest, Wisconsin, which she says is instrumental to where she is today. "The lessons and values I gained growing up in this industry have given me the passion to stay involved and continue to learn more every day.” Hoskins earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has spent that last several years at Vita Plus, working with producers to improve performance and help them reach the goals of their calf operations. Read Hoskins' most recent article.
Dr. Andrew Kniesly joined Vita Plus in 2014 as a dairy specialist in Ohio. Kniesly grew up on a family farm in Dorset, Ohio and attended The Ohio State University and graduated from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. He then joined a veterinary practice with dairy as the primary focus. Since 2004, he has worked as a dairy nutrition consultant with a particular interest in transition cow health, milk components and cow comfort. He currently resides in Medina, Ohio with his wife and two kids and enjoys doing anything that is outdoors. Read Kniesly's most recent article.
Dr. Noah Litherland is the Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist. He grew up on a diversified livestock farm in central Illinois and was active in 4-H and FFA as a youth. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, focusing on dairy cattle nutritional physiology. He worked as a dairy extension specialist at Oklahoma State University from 2006 to 2008 and then as a dairy nutritionist at the University of Minnesota until 2014. At Minnesota, Litherland served as the faculty supervisor of dairy research on the St. Paul campus. Read Litherland's most recent article.
Steve Maier is a financial consultant with Agri-Business Consultants LLC (ABC), a Vita Plus company. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Maier earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He previously worked as a nutritionist and agricultural lender, and also owned and operated his own dairy farm. At ABC, Maier works with clients on a variety of projects, including quarterly and annual financial management monitoring, feasibility studies, and business succession planning. Read Maier's most recent article.
Kate McAndrews is a Vita Plus dairy specialist and a sales manager. She grew up on her family’s sixth-generation dairy farm in King Ferry, New York, and attended Cornell University to study dairy science. Upon graduation in 2002, McAndrews moved to Minnesota to work as a dairy cattle nutritionist. In her current role, McAndrews works with dairy farmers to design feeding plans based on their farm’s forages and growth and production goals. McAndrews also supervises a team of livestock nutritionists in central Minnesota, where she currently lives with her husband, Michael, and their two children, Mary and Luke, on McAndrews Dairy. Read McAndrew's most recent article.
Dr. Owen Mickley is a dairy specialist based in eastern Ohio. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Vita Plus, Mickley served as a practicing veterinarian in New York and Ohio for three years. He worked closely with clients to achieve production objectives, monitor progress and construct a sustainable operational model. Today, he works closely with dairy producers and his fellow Vita Plus technical staff teammates to bring a comprehensive team approach to the farms in his area. Read Mickley's most recent article.
Dr. Lucas Mitchell is a Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist. He grew up working on his family’s dairy farm in Indiana and attended Purdue University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in food science in 2013. He worked in the food industry before returning to academics to pursue a Ph.D. in animal science, with a focus on dairy nutrition, at Penn State University. His research focused on the impacts forage type and quantity have on growth, intake, and metabolism of recently weaned calves. Mitchell provides on-farm support in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. He also works closely with the Vita Plus calf team to apply current research and provide custom solutions to meet the needs of calf and heifer raisers. Read Mitchell's most recent article.
Steve Murty joined the Vita Plus team in 2018 as a forage product specialist. He attended Iowa State University to earn a degree in animal science with a minor in agricultural systems technology. He previously managed the grain, agronomy, seed and retail departments at a local cooperative before transitioning to a sales role with a seed dealer. Murty is also a certified crop advisor (CCA) with a passion to work with farmers and help them meet their forage production goals. Living in Iowa, Murty is a local 4-H club leader, a member of the Tama County Cattlemen, and an active member of his local church. Read Murty's most recent article.
Stacy Nichols is a Vita Plus dairy technical specialist. He grew up in northwest Illinois and finished high school in northeast Georgia. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in dairy science from the University of Georgia. Nichols was the herdsman at Mississippi State University’s Bearden Dairy Research Center from 1994 to 1996. He then returned to Georgia as the herdsman on a private 350-cow dairy. Since 1997, he has been involved in the dairy feed industry on a local, national and global level. Nichols has considerable experience in transition cow management, nutritional modeling and amino acid formulation. He and his wife, Melissa, have eight children and reside in northwest Indiana. Read Nichol's most recent article.
Andy Nytes is the Vita Plus vice president sales and purchasing and has been a Vita Plus employee owner since 1998. He grew up on a small dairy farm in eastern Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in dairy science. His master's research focused on the efficacy of bovine somatotropin. In his current role, he oversees sales management and dairy technical service team members and leads purchasing and pricing projects. Read Nytes' most recent article.
Dr. Silvia Onetti grew up in Cordoba, Argentina where she earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina. After graduation, she worked at the National Institute of Agricultural Research in Argentina as a research assistant in dairy nutrition. She received a Fulbright Scholarship, which influenced her decision to pursue her Ph.D. in dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before being named Vita Plus vice president technical services, Onetti served as director of nutrition and a member of the Vita Plus dairy nutrition and technical services team. Currently, she is a member of the American Dairy Science Association and is active in the American Feed Industry Association. Read Onetti's most recent article.
Jon Rasmussen is a dairy technology specialist on the Vita Plus team. He grew up on a small dairy farm in northeast Wisconsin. Rasmussen attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. For the past six years, he’s specialized in records analysis for the Vita Plus dairy team. He works with dairy producers and consultants to help them evaluate data for improved dairy business management. Read Rasmussen's most recent article.
Dr. Zachary Sawall grew up on a dairy farm in northeast Wisconsin. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science with an emphasis in ruminant nutrition. In 2013, Sawall was named Outstanding Master’s Student by the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. He continued there to earn his Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition. Sawall joined Vita Plus in 2015 as a dairy nutritionist and technical services specialist in central Wisconsin. In his free time, Sawall enjoys hiking, hunting, spending time with his wife, Sandra, and their family, and working on their parents’ dairy farms. Read Sawall's most recent article.
Dr. Al Schultz served as vice president of Vita Plus and was an employee owner for 40 years. Schultz grew up in eastern Wisconsin on a registered Holstein dairy farm. One of his “claims to fame” is the family showing of the Grand Champion Holstein cow at the 1968 World Dairy Expo. He has earned all of his degrees in dairy science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to his retirement, Schultz oversaw activities related to product formulation, quality control and regulatory issues. In addition, he worked closely with the dairy team and has corporate responsibilities. He lives with his wife in Verona, Wisconsin. His two grown children and their spouses include a diverse mix of a teacher, lawyer, airline pilot and doctor. Read Schultz's most recent article.
Dr. Eric Schwab grew up in a rural town in New Hampshire. He attended the University of New Hampshire–Durham, where he received bachelor’s degrees in dairy management and environmental and resource economics in 1998. While working in northeast Wisconsin, he met Dr. Randy Shaver and returned to academia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue his graduate degrees. In Shaver’s lab, Schwab’s master’s degree research focused on kernel processing and chop length in BMR corn silage. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on B-vitamin nutrition and ruminal B-vitamin synthesis in lactating dairy cows. In September 2005, Schwab joined Vita Plus on the dairy nutrition and technical services team. He currently works as the director of dairy nutrition and research. He lives in Deerfield, Wisconsin with his wife and their three sons. Read Schwab's most recent article.
Wyatt Smith is a Vita Plus dairy specialist in northwest Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota. He grew up on his family’s 180-cow registered Jersey farm in Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota and earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science with a focus on dairy production. He then attended the University of Vermont to earn his master’s degree in animal science and dairy cattle nutrition, in cooperation with the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute. His research focused on evaluating the physical and digestibility characteristics of fiber. Read Smith's most recent article.
Nick Uglow is a sales and nutrition consultant at Vita Plus Lake Mills. Uglow grew up on his family’s registered Brown Swiss and Holstein dairy farm in Watertown, Wisconsin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in dairy science and agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. Since then, he has worked as an account executive for an agricultural marketing firm as well as a dairy feed and sales consultant and has experience fitting and caring for dairy cattle for shows and sales. Nick still owns Brown Swiss cattle and works with his parents on the family farm, where he lives with his wife, Buffy, and dog, Melvin. Read Uglow's most recent article.
Barry Visser is a dairy technical specialist based in Minnesota. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm in northwest Minnesota. Visser received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota in 1994. He worked as a dairy nutritionist for four years before returning to graduate school to earn his master’s degree in dairy cattle nutrition. His research focused primarily on transition cows and minimizing pre- and post-calving metabolic challenges. While a graduate student, Visser also worked as an assistant herdsman for the University of Minneosta St. Paul dairy herd. At Vita Plus, Visser works with fellow employee owners to troubleshoot farm nutrition, forage quality and management challenges. Read Visser's most recent article.
Rod Wautlet provides financial and business consulting services with Agri-Business Consultants LLC, a Vita Plus-related company. He was born and raised on a dairy farm and is a lifetime FFA Alumni member. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota. Wautlet has more than 20 years of consulting experience with dairy producers on financial, business, marketing, milk quality, genetics, expansion, personnel, nutrition and other facets of the dairy industry. Read Wautlet's most recent article.
Marin Western is a Vita Plus dairy specialist in central Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science and agribusiness management at Michigan State University. She continued there to earn her master’s degree in dairy nutrition through the Vita Plus Dairy Nutrition and Management Fellowship. Part of her fellowship research focused on dairy cow production responses to different fat supplements. As an undergraduate student, Western worked at a Vita Plus intern and performed research focused on the critical analysis of bacteria and various spoilage agents in forages. Read Western's most recent article.
Dr. Laurie Winkelman grew up on a 130-cow Holstein and Brown Swiss farm in southeast Wisconsin. Following high school, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she double-majored in dairy science and agricultural journalism and graduated in 2003. She then attended The Ohio State University to earn her master's degree. Her research focused on the concept of limiting energy intake in prepartum transition dairy cows. After completing her master's, Winkelman worked for Ohio State as the dairy program specialist, overseeing the youth and 4-H dairy programs for the state as well as working with multi-state extension programs, such as the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference. In 2007, she moved to Ithaca, New York to pursue her Ph.D. at Cornell University. There she examined the role of insulin in milk protein synthesis in lactating cows. Following completion of her Ph.D. in early 2011, Winkelman began working with Vita Plus as a nutritionist and member of the technical services team in northeast Wisconsin. Read Winkelman's most recent article.
Augusta Witt works as a Vita Plus dairy specialist in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. She also provides technical leadership and training to consultants in the area and shares nutrition and management expertise through companywide projects. Witt earned her master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the Vita Plus Dairy Nutrition and Management Fellowship. She earned her bachelor's degree in animal science with an agribusiness emphasis at UW-Platteville. While there, she gained consulting experience through the Vita Plus Dairy Technical Extended Internship. Witt is an alumna of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. Read Witt's most recent article.
Cody Yanzick is a Vita Plus dairy specialist. He grew up on a cattle ranch near Billings, Mont. and attended Montana State University in Bozeman to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science and nutrition. For more than 13 years, Yanzick has worked with progressive dairy producers in eastern Wisconsin, focusing on total dairy herd health, including calves and heifers. In addition, Yanzick and his wife, Sherry, own and operate a special fed veal operation. Yanzick has passed down his interest in science to his three daughters. He enjoys spending time with his family, riding ATVs, hunting and fly fishing. Read Yanzick's most recent article.
Laura Zagorski is a Vita Plus Gagetown dairy specialist. She earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from Michigan State University. She works closely with farms in Michigan's Thumb, offering customized nutrition solutions and technical expertise to those dairy producers. Read Zagorski's most recent article.
The Vita Plus Loyal Dairy Team includes several team members with more than 30 years of experience, the Loyal team is proud to work with central Wisconsin dairy producers and offer cutting edge, nutrition, technology and management expertise. Consultants join your team to get an in-depth understanding of your farm and goals and design customized solutions to meet your needs. As employee owners, their actions are guided by the Vita Plus Values of safety, teamwork, commitment, quality, communication, attitude and performance. They understand their success depends on the success of your farm and they’re excited to work with you every step of the way.