2014 Bruce Cottington Award
Jeff Reneau has been humbly serving Minnesota dairy producers for over 35 years. After graduating from University of Minnesota Veterinarian School, he was a practicing veterinarian in Parkers Prairie and Buffalo, Minnesota. He then started working at the University of Minnesota Animal Science Department with an Extension Appointment in 1979.
Dr. Reneau has developed two practices that producers, world-wide, use almost every day. First, with the help of Ralph Farnsworth, is the “Minnesota One-Step” method of cow preparation using dip – strip- wipe – and apply to prep cows. The other is bulk tank culturing. With colleagues, Dr. Reneau developed a rapid, inexpensive way to troubleshoot a herd’s milk quality problem and monitor exposure to environmental bacteria.
He has been working over the past several years with Mark Kinseil to develop the use of statistical process control and automated web-based milk monitoring to monitor milk quality and components on farms. This has developed into a system where data can be collected on smart phones and hand-held computers and is transmitted to an internet server tor real time analysis and report generation.
Dr. Reneau started the senior capstone dairy production systems class for dairy students at the University of Minnesota. In this class students visit and evaluate farms, developing and making recommendations to the farmer. This is a favorite for students and the participating farms also enjoy the input.
In his Extension role, Dr. Reneau taught many milking schools over the years and led the united dairy industry effort “Quality Counts” program that has dramatically improved the milk quality in Minnesota. He helped develop materials for Dairy Initiatives and the Dairy Diagnostic programs. With students, professionals and producers, our recipient has always emphasized that it’s important to take a whole systems approach to improving farm management.