Dairy Extension

Dairy Veterinary Extension

The objective of the Veterinary Extension Program for Dairy Cattle is to provide educational leadership and assistance to the Iowa Dairy Industry in matters related to health and health management of dairy cattle. The target audience includes Iowa dairy farmers, managers, employees, agri-business, practicing veterinarians, hoof trimmers, and all other allied industry affiliates. Specific areas of emphasis include: the management of lameness and foot care of dairy cattle, the development of training programs for multi-cultural dairy employees, and the continued improvement of animal well-being in livestock production. Dr. Jan Shearer is the faculty coordinator for these programs.

Dr. Jan Shearer
Dr. Jan Shearer

Dr. Jan Shearer is the Dairy Extension Veterinarian at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In this role he is responsible for the development and delivery of veterinary extension programs designed primarily to meet the needs of Iowa's dairy farmers, veterinarians and allied agri-business industry. In cooperation with Dairy Extension Faculty from the Department of Animal Sciences and Iowa State's statewide network of county faculty, Dr. Shearer is but one of several conduits for the exchange of information between the Iowa State University and the Iowa dairy industry.

Dr. Shearer's primary areas of interest in recent years have been lameness and welfare of cattle.Along with colleagues, Dr. Sarel van Amstel and Adrian Gonzalez, he established the Master Hoof Care Program, a training program designed to teach on-farm employees how to properly trim and treat foot problems.  Since 1996, this program has acquired international prominence for its impact on foot health in dairy operations.In addition to his work on lameness, Dr. Shearer is also actively working on issues related to animal well-being.He has prepared several training documents and informational items on the topic of animal welfare and humane euthanasia (see section on publications and web sites).

He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) where he is currently Chair of the Animal Welfare Committee. Dr. Shearer is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Animal Auditors Association, an organization dedicated to the certification of animal welfare audits and auditors.


Dr. Shearer received his DVM degree from The Ohio State University in 1975. He served as an Associate Veterinarian at the Orrville Veterinary Clinic Inc. in north central Ohio for 4 ½ years before returning to The Ohio State University to pursue graduate studies in nutrition. He was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University in 1981. In 1982 he relocated to the University of Florida where he became Professor and Dairy Extension Veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Shearer served the University of Florida for 27 years before accepting his current position as Professor and Extension Veterinarian at Iowa State University. His primary research and extension interests are lameness of cattle and welfare issues of cattle. He is immediate past Chair of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Animal Welfare Committee (AWC), member of the AVMA's Panel on Euthanasia and Chair of its Food Animal Working Group, and member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). He also serves on the Organizing Committee and Board of Directors of the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW), a proposed Specialty Board in Animal Welfare.

He is a past recipient of the Florida Distinguished Extension Service Award, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Superior Accomplishment Award, and the 2003 USDA Secretary of Agriculture's Honor Award for outstanding innovation in animal health. He has also been honored by The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and by the AABP with the Alpharma Award of Excellence.

Contact Information

J. K. Shearer, DVM, MS
Professor and Extension Veterinarian
Iowa State University
2436 Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center
1809 Riverside Drive
Ames, IA 50011-3619