Jennifer Van Os, PhD

Jennifer Van Os is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare in the Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). The research in her lab at UW-Madison focuses on understanding, evaluating, and improving the welfare of dairy animals from both biological and social perspectives.

Dr. Van Os believes understanding and promoting animal welfare to be an essential part of achieving sustainability in food animal production. To this end, the applied questions in her research program follow these broad themes: (1) understanding the needs of dairy animals from a biological, species- and life-stage-appropriate perspective: what behaviors are important for them to be able to express and what resources do they need? (2) Improving the fit between dairy animals and their environments: how do housing, management, and handling decisions affect cattle behavior, physiology, and production? (3) How do we evaluate animal welfare effectively in both research and commercial farm settings? To complement her research program, the goal of Dr. Van Os’ extension program is to promote best practices in management and housing to help the dairy industry adapt as our scientific knowledge about animal welfare continues to grow.

Dr. Van Os earned a B.A. in Psychology in 2004 from Harvard University, where she conducted original research on memory and aging in humans. After gaining 6 years of professional business experience, Dr. Van Os attended graduate school at the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) from 2010-2015 and received her PhD in the interdisciplinary Animal Behavior graduate program. She then conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Animal Science at UC-Davis in 2016 and in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2017. From 2016-2020, she served as the Communications Officer on the Council for the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE). She joined the faculty at UW-Madison in 2018.

Emily Miller-Cushon, PhD

Dr. Emily Miller-Cushon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida. Her research program focuses on improving knowledge about dairy calf rearing and management and developing novel ways to measure animal welfare. She has specifically investigated the role of dairy calf feeding and housing management in behavioral development, performance, and health, with the aim of refining early rearing practices to improve long-term dairy cattle welfare.

She has received the New Investigator Award from the International Society for Applied Ethology in recognition of her research accomplishments. She also leads an active teaching program in animal behavior and welfare.

Dr. Miller-Cushon serves on the program committee for the Dairy Cattle Welfare Council and has served as chair of the Animal Behavior and Well-being Program committee for the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Guelph and B.S. from the University of Waterloo.

Kayla Rink

Kayla is the manager of dairy science and farm practices at Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and oversees implementation of their internal evaluation program Gold Standard, alongside the FARM Program. She is service-driven and committed to promoting best practices in animal and farm worker care.

Prior to joining DFA, Kayla gained extensive production agriculture experience by working on numerous dairies and ranches located in the United States and abroad. She received her B.S in Animal Science and Agricultural Literacy from Colorado State University, and M.S shortly after focusing her research on perceptions of the National Dairy FARM Program. Findings from Kayla’s research helped initiate additional farmer input in the program, development of the Farmer Advisory Council, and emphasize the importance of the Program to the dairy industry.

Kayla is a PAACO certified dairy auditor and a certified FARM Program evaluator/trainer. She leads farm practices training efforts across DFA and serves as a resource to staff and members. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys playing ice hockey and spending time outdoors with her family.

Cricket Jacquier

James “Cricket” Jacquier farms alongside his wife, parents, brother, nephews, niece and son at Laurelbrook Farm in East Canaan, Connecticut. Together they run a diversified agricultural business that includes a 1,500-head dairy operation, 3,00 acres of corn and alfalfa and a compost and soil business. Cricket’s grandparents started the farm in 1948. The family has gradually grown the business as family members have come back home. Cricket joined the operation right out of high school and he started as a herdsman of a then 500-head herd. Today Cricket oversees the dairy and its 23 employees. “My passion is the cows,” said Cricket. He focuses his work on managing production, components per cow, reproduction efficiency and nutrition. And he is proud that the fourth generation is engaged and involved on the farm.

Cricket is Chairman of the Board for Agri-Mark, Inc., where he has served as a director for more than ten years. He serves on the board for the New England Dairy Promotion Board, Dairy Management Inc. and the National Milk Producers Federation. He is a long-time supporter of FFA and is the chairman of the Ag Advisory Committee for the Housatonic Valley Regional High School. Cricket and his wife Jenn have two children, Morgan and Colby.

Mike Machado

Mike grew up in Hilmar California, in the middle of the San Joaquin Valleys dairy country working alongside of his father on a dairy farm. After high school, Mike went to work as a herdsman and feed manager for Clauss Dairy Farms, one of the most prolific registered Jersey herds in California where he developed my passion for working with cattle. He holds a degree in Applied Animal Science from the College of Southern Idaho along with being a graduate of the Leadership Idaho Agriculture program.

Since 2010, Mike shifted his career to the processor side of the dairy industry and today is the Milk Procurement Dairy Sustainability Specialist for Glanbia Nutritionals in Twin Falls, Idaho. In this role, he oversees all animal welfare evaluations since version 1.0 of FARM along with other sustainability initiatives and customer outreach. Mike is a FARM certified trainer and is heavily involved in the Magic Valley Dairy Heifer Program as a steering committee member and 4H leader.

Pat Gorden, DVM

Dr. Patrick Gorden is a 1993 graduate of Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Pat joined the Platteville Veterinary Clinic (PVC), a predominantly dairy practice in Wisconsin. In 2000, he joined Dairy Veterinary Services, a full-service dairy practice in Chandler, Arizona. As a practitioner, he provided dairy health and production services to farms that ranged in size up to 9000 cows. While he enjoys helping producers maintain the health of their herds, his real passion is in the development of quality milk programs and milking equipment evaluation.

In 2007, Pat and his family relocated back to Ames, IA, when he joined the faculty at ISU’s College Veterinary Medicine. He is currently an Associate Professor specializing in dairy production medicine in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine (VDPAM). A supporter of lifelong learning, Pat earned board certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Dairy) in 2004, received his PhD in Veterinary Microbiology in 2017, and board certification with the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology in 2018.

Pat has been an active member of the American Association of Veterinary Practitioners (AABP) since veterinary school. He has been a member on multiple committee and is currently the organization’s President-elect. He has been the AVMA/AABP liaison to the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) since 2012, where he serves on the Appendix N subcommittee, which develops drug-testing programs for milk. He also serves on NCIMS’ Executive Board as the University Liaison, the first veterinarian to serve in this role. Pat is an active member in the National Mastitis Council and serves on the Expert Council for Global Vet Link

Pat and his wife of 31 years, Kelly, are the proud parents of three college aged children.

Kate Lott, DVM

Kate grew up on a pear orchard and beef cattle ranch in Parkdale, Oregon and her family continues to farm there. She graduated from Linfield College with a BS in Biology and played Division 3 soccer there for two seasons. She followed her childhood dream to become a veterinarian and graduated from Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004. Kate was introduced to dairy cattle her first year at MSU and has focused on it ever since doing an internship at a 3600-cow dairy for a year, then practicing in Michigan for 8 years as a food animal veterinarian.

She, her husband, their two sons moved to Washington and managed an 800-cow dairy for a year, before moving to Tillamook. Kate managed a mobile dairy vet medicine practice for 3 years until June 2017, when she went to work at Tillamook County Creamery Association as the Director of Farm Engagement.

Her role at TCCA centers around farm services; providing resources and services to Tillamook member farms and maintaining a comprehensive farm assurance plan to insure we are continuously improving our farming practices and supporting the Tillamook brand.

Kate has participated with NMPF FARM Animal Care Program for several years, first as a trained Version 3 evaluator and then joined the NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being (AWHB) committee in 2019 to work on Version 4. She is committed to cows and advocate for them, while being realistic about farm facilities, management, and profitability.

In her spare time, she coaches her sons and watch them play soccer and baseball, raise goats, garden, cook and enjoy living on the Oregon Coast.

Kris Scheider

Kris found his love for the dairy industry growing up on his grandparents dairy farm in Northern Illinois.

As a ‘04 UW-Platteville graduate with a Bachelors in Dairy Science, he partnered with his wife, Chelsea, and her family at Zirbel Dairy Farms in De Pere, WI.  While overseeing the production side of the dairy, Kris specializes in fresh cow care where he can be found cow-side almost every morning. Kris enjoys the challenges of an ever-changing industry and keeps up to date with markets, current consumer concerns, and exploring new practices that will keep the dairy viable for generations to come. Kris and Chelsea proudly involve their kids, Owen (13), Olivia (10) and Evelyn (8), in any way possible on the farm.

Kris represents Foremost Farms USA as vice-chair on the FARM advisory board.

Learn more about the Farmer Advisory Council