About Us

MN Dairy Quality Cares is a pilot project funded through the Global Food Ventures area of the MnDRIVE initiative (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy) and implemented by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. This pilot project offers Minnesota dairy farmers the opportunity to gain valuable feedback about risk factors related to animal welfare, food safety, and milk quality on their farms, and offers support to prioritize changes and improve their operations.


MN Dairy Quality Cares Team:

Erin Royster DVM, MS

Erin Royster (Co-PI) is an Instructor in dairy production medicine in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine. She specializes in milk quality and mastitis control, and has a strong interest in developing and delivering extension education programs to dairy producers, veterinarians and other dairy industry professionals. As one of the faculty advisors for the UMN Laboratory for Udder Health, a major focus of her extension education effort is development and evaluation of laboratory-based and on-farm mastitis diagnostic tools. She has developed and delivered several short courses on on-farm culture systems over the last several years, both locally in Minnesota and at national conferences. Dr. Royster completed her veterinary training at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and her Masters program at the University of Minnesota.


Gerard Cramer DVM, DVSc

Gerard Cramer (Co-PI) is an Associate Professor in dairy production medicine in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine. He earned his DVM (2002) and DVSc. (2007) degrees at the University of Guelph. For his DVSc. he completed a project with professional hoof trimmers to determine the prevalence and effects of hoof lesions on productivity. Prior to 2013 he owned a dairy farm and ran a private veterinary practice focused on lameness and foot health. His research interests are to ensure current hoof trimming treatment and preventative practices are based on evidence-based medicine. Additionally he has a strong focus on investigating what proper handling practices are and the effect these practices have on the welfare and productivity of dairy cattle.


Emily Walz, DVM, Postdoctoral Associate

Emily Walz is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.  She is the project coordinator for MN Dairy Quality Cares program, and works extensively with dairy producers, private veterinarians, and industry representatives.  She has an interest in applying qualitative research methods in agricultural settings, and creating training programs that increase the welfare of both the cows and the people who work with them. Emily has a background in education and working with adult learners, and has primary responsibility over developing new trainings and curricula for the MN Dairy Quality Cares resource library.