The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) selected Kyle Karlen, Owen, Wis., as this year’s $1,000 scholarship recipient. The DCHA scholarship program recognizes an outstanding student pursuing a degree in agriculture, with a particular interest in calf health and future productivity.
Karlen earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and is now pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
For the past two summers, Karlen worked as a Dairyland Initiative research assistant. His duties included designing and performing cattle lameness research, surveying dairy owners, handling cattle and educating dairy farm owners and managers. He also completed internships with Gold n’ Plump Poultry and We Energies. His livestock experience was gained by working on his family’s farm and with UW-River Falls’ dairy herd.
As an undergraduate, Karlen was a member of the animal welfare judging team and lead undergraduate research assistant on a study that investigated methods of treating pain, following caustic paste disbudding in dairy calves. He played a significant role in designing the study and handled data collection, research method establishment and scheduling.
With a passion for animal welfare, Karlen started riding with veterinarians when he was in eighth grade. He has spent many hours shadowing and working with a variety of veterinarians. Based on those experiences, his career plans include dairy herd health work and consulting services, such as freestall and barn design, ventilation audits and calf health assessments.
The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (www.calfandheifer.org) was founded in 1996 based on the mission to help dairy producers, calf managers and those professionally focused on the growth and management of dairy calves and heifers. With a national membership of producers, allied industries and research leaders, DCHA seeks to provide the industry’s standards for profitability, performance and leadership, serving as a catalyst to help members improve the vitality and viability of their individual efforts and that of their business.