Cal Poly San Luis Obispo announced their intentions to reduce its herd size from 150 cows to 30 cows this past week.

In a letter to alumni and friends of the dairy science department, the university says it is just as exposed to the current dairy crisis as any other commercial operation and can no longer afford to operate. In the letter they site that for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009 the dairy science department lost more than $450,000. And, if current operations continue it estimates another $250,000 will be lost.

According to the university, the move to 30-cows will allow the university to supply only the Cal Poly Creamery with milk, and no longer ship milk off site to a commercial processing facility.

This move has been met with controversy. A group of very concerned alumni, industry and friends of Cal Poly dairy science department are seeking alternative solutions to help save the Cal Poly Dairy.

“We are concerned that once the cows leave they will never return,” says one concerned alumni. “The Dairy Science labs, ranging from nutrition and milking to AI and calf-care, will never reflect the realities of the dairy industry. One-hundred-and-six years of hard-work, dedication and countless donations will fade into the darkness, all to become memories.”

In addition, concerns have been raised about the loss of genetics that Cal Poly has been known for nationally and internationally since the 1930s. The Cal Poly dairy is recognized by Holstein Association USA as one of the longest progressive Holstein breeding herds.

A group of Cal Poly alumni are working on brainstorming a list of alternative solutions that will be presented at the Cal Poly dairy science department advisory committee meeting on Friday.

To learn more about the campaign to save the Cal Poly dairy, email: savethecpcows@yahoo.com

Concerned alumni can also e-mail Warren Baker, President of Cal Poly State University at wbaker@calpoly.edu.

Read "Protestors buy time" for more information.