Victor Cabrera, Joao Dorea, Ted Halbach and Lindsey Jensen receive CALS Awards

The CALS Awards recognize faculty and staff with different awards for their accomplishments and service to the college and the University of Wisconsin Madison. The event also honors faculty awarded professorships during the past year.  The 2023 CALS Awards ceremony took place in the Ebling Symposium Center of the Microbial Sciences Building at UW–Madison in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The following is a list of this year’s Animal & Dairy Sciences recipients and their accomplishments.

Excellence in International Activities Award – Victor E. Cabrera

Victor Cabrera of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, recipient of the Excellence in International Activities Award, with Dean Glenda Gillaspy at the CALS Awards program. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS

The Excellence in International Activities Award recognizes an individual engaged in international research, instruction, outreach, program development, or service. This year’s recipient is Victor Cabrera.

Victor is a professor and Extension-funded faculty member in dairy management in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, with expertise in the development and delivery of data-driven decision tools to optimize dairy herd management, enhance animal health, and improve the environmental sustainability of dairy farming. 

Over the past fifteen years, Victor has achieved a great balance between serving Wisconsin’s animal agriculture industry and building upon the Wisconsin Idea by sharing his expertise with collaborators and partners around the world.

Victor has developed an international reputation as a leader in the incorporation of “big data” into daily management decisions. He is highly sought after as a speaker, and in the past five years, he has provided seminars, short courses, and other training sessions to audiences all around the world. 

Victor’s most significant commitment to international activities has been in China where he became the director of the Nestle Dairy Farming Institute in early 2020. His courses, as well as those offered by others during his tenure as project leader, have impacted thousands of dairy farmers and allied industry personnel throughout China. Several of the graduate students who participated in the courses have since come to UW-Madison to further their graduate studies.

Faculty Fellow Award – Joao R.R. Dorea

Joao Dorea, assistant professor in precision agriculture and data analytics

Joao Dorea, assistant professor in precision agriculture and data analytics is a recipient of the Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards. These awards are given to assistant professors whose research benefits agricultural activities within the United States and whose areas of interest are in the scientific fields of crop research, improvements in crop yield and quality, or animal sciences.

Joao joined the CALS faculty in July 2019 as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. His research and teaching focus on dairy-related applications of precision agriculture. With expertise in sensor technologies and data analytics, Joao’s lab specializes in the use of automated computer vision systems and other artificial intelligence tools to monitor the behavior and growth of dairy cattle and correlate those observations with health status, welfare, milk yields and other important traits.

WALSAA Outstanding Advisor Award – Theodore J. Halbach

Ted Halbach of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, recipient of the WALSAA Outstanding Advisor Award, with Dean Glenda Gillaspy at the CALS Awards ceremony. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS

The members of the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association have been honoring outstanding advisors with this award since 1979. This year’s Outstanding Advisor Award goes to Ted Halbach, distinguished faculty instructor of dairy management in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.

Ted is relentless in his efforts to improve the education and career readiness of Animal and Dairy Sciences students. He excels at identifying needs and finding creative solutions and resources to address them. Ted’s leadership of the department’s undergraduate recruiting activities has been very successful. The yield rate for prospective students in the Dairy Science major – meaning the percentage of admitted students who enroll in the major – is the highest in CALS and probably the institution.

Ted has excelled as an advisor to undergraduate students, both as the official academic advisor of dozens of students in the Dairy Science major, and in the broad sense, as a mentor, advocate, career counselor, classroom instructor, and pioneer of high-impact educational activities that have benefited hundreds of CALS students over the past 25 years. Early in his UW career, Ted coached the UW-Madison’s intercollegiate dairy cattle judging team and more recently the Dairy Challenge team. His teams have enjoyed sustained success, winning three championships in each competition. Ted also serves as the advisor for the UW-Madison Collegiate Farm Bureau student organization.

Ted has made tremendous contributions to the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department, CALS, UW-Madison, and Wisconsin agriculture over the past quarter century, and he continues to do so each day.

University Staff Recognition Award – Lindsey Jensen

Lindsey Jensen of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, recipient of a University Staff Recognition Award, with Dean Glenda Gillaspy at the CALS Awards program. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS

The University Staff Recognition Award is presented to CALS academic staff in recognition for their exceptional
work. Lindsey Jensen is an animal care technician at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. Lindsey is a person who takes cow-care very seriously and cares for each animal on the farm with great passion and expertise. Because of her consistent “can do” attitude, staff follow her lead, come to her with issues, and rely on her to provide the correct guidance. She is a team player and looks out for her fellow staff members. She not only cares for the animals but for the people as well.

Lindsey is always willing to go above and beyond to help. She has a tremendous amount of patience when working with new employees and strives to exchange knowledge and information with everyone she works with.

Lindsey stays abreast of the latest industry trends to make her more proficient in her craft. She can be counted on to work effectively in every area of the research station whether that be in the milking parlor, operating large equipment, or caring for neonatal calves. She strives for excellence and gives it her all no matter where she is working, and her training and knowledge make her versatile. She is an asset to the research station and UW researchers.”