Food Animal Production: Beef
The beef cattle program is one of the largest animal programs in the Animal Science Department. With over 300 purebred Angus and commercial cows on more than 4,000 acres of land, this program gives students the opportunity to not only learn about the beef industry but also acquire first-hand experience working in the field. Cal Poly’s undergraduate students are able to work with and manage the cattle, learning skills in artificial insemination, embryo transfer, calving and other activities that are usually only available to graduate students at most universities.
Cal Poly’s herd is made up of commercial Simmental cows and purebred Angus, Lim-Flex, and Sim-Angus cattle. Through the use of new technologies in artificial insemination and embryo transfer, these cattle are bred through selection to build a superior herd that best fits the environment. Students manage both the commercial and purebred cattle, and with the new Meat Processing Center, can take part in the entire production chain.
Cal Poly’s beef program is also the first U.S. university to earn USDA certification for its ambitious Process Verification Program for age and source verification. This program certifies the accuracy and integrity of animal information, helping to assure customers that they are buying a consistent product. This provides an opportunity for students to gain training in the process of age, source and natural verification, developing skills they will need to work in the beef cattle industry
I wouldn’t trade my experience with Cal Poly’s beef program. The exposure we get working with animals (especially in the enterprises) is invaluable—it puts you ahead of students from other programs that don’t have years of acquired handling skills with large animals.
Amanda Alford, fourth-year Animal Science student