CALS has a new dairy herd manager. Jessica Cederquist, who joined the Department of Dairy Science in March, is the administrator in charge of the college’s 750+ cows and 600+ growing heifers, which are housed at three sites: campus, the Arlington Ag Research Station and the Marshfield Ag Research Station. As she described in this recent podCALS interview, Cederquist is excited about her new position, particularly the aspect of incorporating the college’s research and teaching mission into her work.

Jessica Cederquist
Jessica Cederquist

Cederquist was kind enough to answer a few questions from eCALS about the path that led her to her current position at CALS.

eCALS: Where did you grow up?

Cederquist: I was born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan. I graduated high school in 2001. Growing up I was actively involved in 4-H, showing dairy feeders and beef steers, but had very limited involvement with actual farm work. I took a semester off following high school to spend the summer and part of the fall working on a dude ranch in Montana, before starting school the following January at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

eCALS: What was your college experience like?

Cederquist: During my undergraduate degree program, I worked full time for a small animal vet clinic, but always dreamed of working with cows. I did a summer internship at Shamrock Dairy Farm in Stanfield, Arizona. The farm had approximately 10,000 milking cows – more cows than a small town girl like myself could ever imagine. It was at this point that I knew my life would be in the dairy industry. I graduated with my bachelor’s of science in veterinary science in May of 2005, and began a master’s degree program in Arizona that fall. I did my master’s work under Dr. Lance Baumgard, who is now at Iowa State University, studying the effects of heat stress and rBST on glucose metabolism in lactating cows. I graduated with my master’s degree in summer of 2008.

eCALS: What came next?

Cederquist: From there I took a job as an assistant manager on a 6000 cow dairy in Kirkman, Iowa. Due to a car accident, my time there was cut short in April 2009, when I returned to Michigan for recovery and spent 2.5 years out of the industry. I returned to the industry in August 2011 when I accepted a job as a dairy nutrition consultant in Chandler, Arizona. I worked as a consultant until August 2013 when I was offered a position as a general manager of a large Jersey dairy farm in Maricopa, Arizona, just a couple miles down the road from where I got my start at Shamrock Dairy. I worked there until November of last year, when I took some time off to have my second child before starting this position here at UW.

eCALS: How are you settling into life in Madison?

Cederquist: I moved here with my husband Chuck and our daughters Blaine, who’s two, and Molly, who’s five months old now. We are extremely excited to be here in Madison and part of the UW family. I am really excited about my new job because it gives me an opportunity to combine my knowledge of the commercial dairy industry with the science behind it all, and to be involved in educating the students that will become the future of our industry.