This past October, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo announced plans to reduce its herd size from 150-cows to 30-cows. In the wake of this controversial announcement supporters of the Cal Poly dairy and university staff have come together to find ways to reduce the financial losses at the dairy.

In mid-November a meeting, hosted at the World Wide Sires Visitors Center in Visalia, Calif., was packed with supporters from across the state.  Dairy producers present at the meeting represented the ownership of nearly 40,000 cows in California, the majority of which are owned or rely on Cal Poly dairy science graduates to care for them.  Additionally, several members of allied industry who support the program attended.

Cal Poly dairy science, department head, Bruce Golden opened the meeting by stating, "I want to make it absolutely clear, that we are absolutely committed to it (Dairy Science). That has not changed. We want to maintain the strongest dairy program we possibly can, given the current state of the economy. We believe that dairy science at Cal Poly is one of our core programs in the College of Agriculture."
 
Supporters came together to seek answers and solutions to making the Cal Poly dairy financially viable. Meeting goers were informed that California state budget problems are forcing severe cuts, which are going to negatively affect the dairy science department.  Many alumni at the meeting were surprised to hear how much less support the Cal Poly dairy now receives compared to 10, 20 or 30 years ago.  The Cal Poly dairy is a stand-alone business unit that is expected to cover all of its costs, and the added costs of making it a world-class educational facility now make it impossible for the dairy to cash-flow without outside subsidies. 
 
The interaction between meeting attendees and university staff was collaborative. A list of alternate solutions that came from the meeting include the following:

  • Continuation of the Cull Cow Program
  • Sale of Elite Cal Poly Genetics
  • Care - 4 - A Calf Program
  • Forage Donations
  • Student Labor Program
  • Development of premium branded Cal Poly Creamy products

The dairy science department head's advisory council has formed two subcommittees to make recommendations. A dairy farm committee has been formed to review actions for the farm. A second committee has also been formed to research the opportunities for revenue generation from the Cal Poly Creamery.

If you are interested in donating, being involved or providing additional solutions please contact Dr. Bruce Golden at (805) 756-2560 or email bgolden@calpoly.edu

Read more: Controversy surrounds Cal Poly’s decision

Source: Save the Cal Poly Cows