Kate Creutzinger will spend the coming year at Miner Institute helping to oversee a collaborative research study that will look at stocking density and the utilization of a calving blind within a commercial dairy farm setting. The study is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is a collaborative project between Miner Institute, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and The Ohio State University, where Kate is working toward a Ph.D. with Dr. Katy Proudfoot.
Kate grew up in Mason, a suburb of Cincinnati, OH. She grew up with horses and participated in 4H. She earned an animal science degree from The Ohio State University and thought she wanted to go into pharmaceutical sales. She did undergraduate research in dairy behavior with Dr. Proudfoot and started to take large animal production classes and “fell in love with the process,” she said. In 2014, Kate started a masters program in beef cattle behavior at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. There she learned about hair cortisol as a measure of stress in beef cattle. “I loved it,” Kate said of the Canadian province known as the land of the living skies. The two largest agricultural outputs in Saskatchewan are canola and flax, which are yellow and purple, respectively. The fields were beautiful, she recalled.
After completing her masters, Kate stayed on in Saskatchewan for about six months working at the Prairie Swine Center, a non-profit swine research facility as a research assistant in the ethology department. “I like pigs, they are highly intelligent animals,” she said but wishes to move forward with her career in the dairy industry. That experience though, “has given me a broader range of knowledge to apply,” she said.
Ultimately, Kate said, she’d like to work in industry. She said that she loves research and working with animals, but there is so much good research out there being conducted and that information needs to be effectively distributed to farmers so that it can be utilized. She would like to work for a company like Cargill in their welfare department helping farmers to make the best management decisions for their farm to adapt to changing regulations.
Kate moved to Chazy to start her work here at Miner in early April. She says that she likes it here. “It’s beautiful. The facilities are great to work in.” She said that she is excited to get her project underway in June. Kate said that she is interested in looking at natural behaviors and how those behaviors can be modeled in a commercial setting. “The transition period is so critical,” she said. The animals “are compromised and susceptible to disease.”
In spring 2018, Kate will return to Ohio to finish up her classes, do the data analysis and write up the report for her project. In the meantime, while not working, Kate hopes to enjoy some hiking and Cross-country skiing in the North Country.