Animal Science Department

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Dairy Science Holds First Showcase Sale of Heifers  

In February 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cal Poly’s Dairy Operations Manager, Craig Russell, managed to pull off a successful Cal Poly Showcase Sale of heifers, the first such sale for the university and the Animal Science Department in several years.  

The sale was held virtually and provided individuals from around the country an opportunity to purchase Jersey and Holstein heifers, including a pair of Jersey heifers donated by Animal Science Professor Emeritus Stan Henderson, as well as embryo lots.  

“This was the first year we held a Showcase Sale in this format,” Russell said. “It started as a result of our amazing husbandry program, led by husbandry manager and alumna Robin Smithling (Dairy Science, ’21).  

The event brought in nearly $14,000, which will be used to support the dairy science program, starting with a pavilion for future showcases. A total of 25 animals were sold. The highest-selling animal fetched $4,850, and the average sales price was $1,750.  

“We are happy with our average selling price, especially considering the circumstances,” Russell said. “Once you factor in the current market price for heifers, our average was fairly reasonable.”  

The Showcase Sale was completely led by students and is now an official enterprise class offered by the dairy science program in the Animal Science Department.  

Enterprise classes are the quintessential Learn by Doing opportunity. This class allows students to get hands-on experience in planning, organizing and handling all aspects of the sale. Students Genevive Regli and Doreen Dyt produced videos for each cow and promoted the event on social media. 

A date has been set for next year’s showcase: Dec. 4, 2021. It is being planned as a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual attendees.  

“We hope next year we can continue to grow interest in this event,” Russell said. “We have customers all over the U.S. who are interested in supporting Cal Poly’s dairy science program.”  

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