Welcoming new faculty and staff

April 07, 2021

Meet the Department of Animal Science's new faculty and staff

Dr. Isaac Salfer

Dr. Isaac Salfer

We took a few moments to meet with Dr. Salfer earlier this year to get to know him and learn what his goals are for the program! 

1.) Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I grew up about an hour and a half west of the St. Paul campus in Dassel, MN. Through my dad, who is a UMN Extension Agent, I had great connections to the dairy industry from a young age and remember traveling to farms with him all across Minnesota. I started raising and showing registered Brown Swiss cattle in fifth grade and participated in dairy quiz bowl and dairy judging competitions through 4-H and FFA. Through these opportunities, I developed a love of the dairy industry and was also able to meet a lot of U of MN professors which sparked the idea of pursuing a job as a professor.

I majored in Animal Science here at the University of Minnesota, and I was very involved in the Gopher Dairy Club where I served as treasurer, was a member of Farmhouse fraternity, served on the dairy judging team with Dr. Les Hansen and competed on the dairy challenge team with Dr. Marcia Endres. I stayed at the University of Minnesota to pursue my Master’s degree with Dr. Marshall Stern, where my research focused on rumen fermentation. It is very cool that I am moving back into Dr. Stern’s lab in my new role in the Department! I then attended Penn State University to earn my Ph.D. with Dr. Kevin Harvatine, where my research focused on the relationships between the circadian rhythm and milk production in cows. I most recently was employed at the South Dakota State University Dairy Science Department as an Assistant Professor from June of 2019 until this past December. I started in my role as the Assistant Professor of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota with a specialty in dairy cattle nutrition on January 11th of this year.

2.) What brought you to the University of Minnesota?
Being a professor in the Animal Science at the U has always been a dream of mine since I was very young. I love the faculty that make up this department as well as the St. Paul Campus, and am really happy to be able to have an academic position at my alma mater and within the great state of Minnesota. I have also been a diehard Gophers fan my whole life! I am very excited about the opportunity to give back to students and dairy producers of Minnesota as a teaching and research faculty member and be part of the great legacy of the UMN Animal Science department.

3.) What are you most excited to accomplish in the upcoming year?
I am most excited to have the ability to get a research and teaching program ramped up in the upcoming year and to re-acquaint myself into the department as a professor. I am very excited to begin making connections with students through the Gopher Dairy Club and in classes, and I look forward to interacting with the dairy producers across the state to help continue to maintain a strong relationship between the University and the Minnesota dairy industry.

4.) What has been your favorite part about the St. Paul campus or the Animal Science Department so far?
Ever since attending school here as an undergraduate, I have loved the feeling of being in a small town in the middle of the big city that the St. Paul campus offers. The campus is very well connected and a tight knit community within the larger university, and it makes me feel connected to my agricultural roots!

5.) What is your favorite breed of animal and why?
I will say Brown Swiss cattle because I grew up showing them and even though they can be very stubborn, I appreciate how docile and friendly they are!

If you have any questions for Dr. Salfer or simply want to introduce yourself, please email him directly at ijsalfer@umn.edu.


Jordan Juckel

The U of MN Meat Science lab is proud to announce that Jordan Juckel has accepted the role of Meat Laboratory Supervisor. Jordan Juckel received her B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota in 2016 and M.S. in Animal Science with emphasis in Meat Science at the University of Minnesota in 2018. She has served as Manufactured Food Agricultural Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture since June, 2019 and continues to serve as Executive Director of the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors since June, 2020.