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B2—tancirtT Farming, Saturday, February 25,1984
All for the Love of Cows
BY ROBIN PHILLIPS
Her life revolves around cows.
She loves them. In fact, when it
became time to look for a job after
high school for this young lady,
there was one criteria that had to
be met. “1 wanted it to be with
cows,” states Patricia Jenkins,
Polo Road, Toughkenamon.
Meet 22-year-old Patty Jenkins,
the daughter of Bill and Janet
Jenkins of Clearview Farm in
southeastern Pennsylvania, whose
wish came true. Not only is Patty a
veteran showman of her own prize
winning Jerseys, but she’s also the
very capable herdsperson of a
research herd at the New Bolton
Center of the University of Penn
sylvania. Patty cares for the
isolated negative herd in the
Bovine Leukemia virus research
program. Patty says she has
learned a lot from her job and can
apply it at home. But, according to
her supervisor, Mark Hodgson, the
research center can take ad
vantage of Patty’s “cow sense.”
“Patty knows when an animal
looks sick,” Hodgson states. Ad
mitting that most of the animal
care at the center is done by
women, Hodgson says that Patty’s
past 4-H experiences and that with
her own animals was really ap
preciated in her job. Patty’s daily
duties include taking care of
calves, feeding older stock,
bloodtesting each individual, and
some lab work.
The leukemia research program
consists of two herds at the center.
The positive herd consists of
Jersey cows and the negative herd
is made up of Guernsey steers, and
Jersey heifers and bulls who have
Patty and Beth Jenkins stand by their trophy case. They
are very proud when they can win with animals that they have
tested negative for the virus.
When a calf is bom in the positive
herd, it is Patty’s job to remove it
immediately, care for it, and start
the bloodtesting procedures to
determine its leukemia status.
Bloodtesting is done every three
weeks in Patty’s negative herd to
monitor the leukemia status. If a
positive animal would show up, it
is also Patty’s job to clean and
disinfect everything and return the
herd back to it’s negative status.
Although there is no cure or
vaccine developed to control the
virus yet, Patty tells us that some
conclusions have been discovered
in this research.
1. Calves should be removed
from their dams immediately after
2. Colostrum from a negative
cow should be fed to the calf.
Although the virus can be passed
through the colostrum, it was also
discovered that not all calves that
get positive colostrum will get the
3. Flies should be controlled.
When a positive animal is found in
the negative herd, (about one a
year) it is attributed to flies or
4. Do not use the same syringe
and needle for another cow.
5. There is no evidence that the
virus is transferred with embryos.
6. There is no loss of production
“I think the farmers should be
educated about it,” states Patty.
She says that she does not like the
disregarding attitude of most
dairymen to the disease. The
known effects of th 6 leukemia
virus on cows is a gradual wasting
away with much loss of flesh.
m I i
Advanced cases develop tumors
and swollen lymph nodes. It isn’t
until there is evidence of this
lymphosarcoma that many
dairymen realize that the disease
is in their herd.
Although there are export
restrictions on a leukemia positive
animal, unless a dairy is directly
affected, there is no incentive to
try to eradicate the disease, Patty
tells us. “Unless they find human
health complications or direct loss,
there is not going to be much in
terest,” her supervisor says.
When she is not caring for the
research animals, Patty is at home
caring for her own. During her
nine years in 4-H and her years in
the showring since then, Patty has
become well known throughout the
state for her refined Jerseys and
her professional showmanship.
Her career peaked this January as
she won the Premier Breeder
award at the Pennsylvania Farm
“We don’t have 100 to pick
from,” Patty says of her victory.
“We were happy to do as well as
we did with what we had.”
Patty and her 18-year-old sister,
Beth, own a total of eight Jerseys.
They attend six shows a year and
usually take all their animals.
Since their home farm is not a
(Turn to Page B 4)
The two sisters stand with one of their calves and their pet goat. "My goat keeps the
cows company," Patty says.
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Patty and her supervisor team up almgst daily to take blood samples of each animat.
Samples are taken on a three-week rotation for each animal to determine its leukemia
Patty takes care of the negative herd in the leukemia
research program at the New Bolton Center.