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New faculty profile: Luiz Ferraretto focuses on dairy nutrition

Luiz Ferraretto joined the UW–Madison faculty in May 2020 as an assistant professor in the Department of Dairy Science and an extension ruminant nutrition specialist in the Division of Extension.

What is your hometown? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Jundiaí, SP, Brazil.

What is your educational/professional background?
I have B.S. in animal science from São Paulo State University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in dairy science both from the Department of Dairy Science at UW–Madison. After grad school I joined the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in upstate New York as a postdoctoral fellow and from March of 2016 to April of 2020 I was an assistant professor of livestock nutrition at the University of Florida.

How did you get into your field of research?
During college I had the opportunity to work with two research groups focused on crops and dairy production. The connection between these areas is dairy nutrition and I have been studying and conducting research on this topic since that time.

What are the main goals of your current research program?
Our research program is divided into three main areas. First, to improve feed and forage quality and utilization by lactating cows. Second, to understand carbohydrate digestion and metabolism by dairy cows. And last, to develop laboratory and on-farm assays of forage and feed analysis.

What attracted you to UW–Madison?
UW–Madison is renowned worldwide for its dairy research (among several other fields), and the outstanding animal and research facilities. In addition to that, my current position would give me the opportunity to serve the dairy industry as an extension specialist while conducting research, which was one of my main career goals. Besides, Madison is a great place to live.

What was your first visit to campus like?
My fist campus visit was in January of 2009 when I arrived in Madison for an internship. I was amazed that everything was covered in white, never saw snow before, but was less pleased with the difference in temperature from 90 to 0 degrees between my hometown and Madison. When I came for a campus visit during the interview process it felt like coming back home. I spent some time discussing about the new buildings and how certain parts of the campus looked different than when I was an intern back in 2009.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with?
Critical thinking and the understanding that sometimes “it depends” is the correct answer.

Do you share your expertise and experiences with the public through social media? If so, which channels do you use?
Yes, I have been using LinkedIn and ResearchGate for some years now. Recently, I joined Instagram to share updates about our lab @ferraretto_ruminant_nutrition.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.
Definitely. Our program is primarily on applied nutrition and envisions to disseminate knowledge and create tools to help dairy producers, forage growers, nutritionists, and other industry sectors.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?
Cows spend several hours a day ruminating (chewing). The most interesting thing about this process is that ruminant’s brain waves resembles human’s brain waves while sleeping.

What are your hobbies/other interests?
Collectable card games, watching football games, and a good Brazilian barbecue.