Dairy Cattle Programs

Academic Programs

Below is information about the various programs that are offered.  For a complete description, please review the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Dairy Management Agricultural Technology Certificate
The two-year Dairy Management Agricultural Technology Certificate program is designed to allow women and men the opportunity for specialization in dairy cattle management.

Bachelors of Science Degree
Students with a major in Animal Science can select a concentration in either animal industry, animal biology and pre-veterinary medicine, companion and exotic animal biology, or production animal scholars. In addition to course work, students can specialize in dairy through opportunities in the Dairy Associates Program. Scholarship support is provided through the Michigan Dairy Memorial Scholarships.

Graduate Studies
Excellent opportunities exist for graduate studies in dairy science here at MSU. Entrance to the program is often limited and very competitive. Students take graduate level courses and conduct research projects that lead to either Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Along with conducting research and taking courses, graduate students are often involved in classroom and laboratory instruction, as well as extension activities such as Michigan 4-H Discovery Day.

Student Clubs & Teams
Students interested in Dairy can join the MSU Dairy Club. The purpose of the MSU Dairy Club is to provide students the opportunity develop friendships with other students who are interested in the dairy industry and to increase their contact with the dairy industry in Michigan and nationally. The club meets twice a month during the academic year. Club activities include social activities, club trips to dairy events and farms, an annual cheese sale, an annual calf sale and annual club recognition banquet.

Students have the opportunity to become members of the MSU Dairy Judging team where they develop their dairy cattle evaluation, reasoning and communication skills. The team competes at a number of intercollegiate judging contests throughout the year. Also, students can participate in the annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge competition in which they develop their skills in practical dairy management evaluation, team work, data analysis and public speaking.

Several faculty members are involved in different areas of research in dairy science.  Currently, areas of focus include reproductive and molecular endocrinology, gamete biology, reproductive management, immunogenetics, molecular virology, stress biology, nutritional physiology, and dairy nutrition.   Research projects are conducted at both molecular and whole animal levels.  Research projects are conducted on the MSU campus.  In addition to on-campus facilities, several research projects are conducted at Kellogg Biological Station and the Upper Peninsula Experiment Station.

Extension & Outreach

Adult Extension
Faculty in the Department of Animal Science partner with campus faculty in other departments and MSUE Dairy Educators located in different regions of the state to form the MSU Dairy Team.  The Team develops and delivers science-based, unbiased, scholarly information related to dairy science, production management, veterinary medicine, engineering, and economics for Sustainable Michigan Dairying.  Many different approaches, options, and technologies are presented for the State’s dairy industry to evaluate for potential implementation into their businesses.  Adult extension education programming is delivered locally, statewide, and regionally as workshops and conferences, newsletters and other printed materials, World Wide Web sites via the Internet, case studies, farm visits, roundtable discussions, and demonstration and applied research projects.

Youth Extension

The Dairy Youth Extension Program coordinates state-level 4-H and youth dairy activities. Major activities include the Michigan 4-H Dairy Conference, the MMPA Milk Marketing Tour, and Michigan Dairy Expo and 4-H Dairy Days held each July. The state 4-H and FFA Youth Dairy Judging Contest, Quiz Bowl Contest, and Dairy Management Contest are all part of 4-H Dairy Days. The Michigan 4-H Dairy Judging teams are also part of the program and represent the state of Michigan in 3 national dairy judging contests. Educational workshops are held across the state for youth, parents, and leaders. This program is often the first experience youth and parents students have with Michigan State University and provides a basic foundation of knowledge about the dairy cow and dairy industry.

Dairy Facilities

MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching, Research, and Extension programs are conducted at three animal facilities. The primary facility is located on campus in East Lansing, MI with a herd of 140 lactating cows and an equivalent number of calves and heifers. Campus activities are focused on nutrition, reproduction, physiology, disease-related illnesses, and general dairy cow management. Activities range from fundamental to farm-applied studies and student experiences. Another herd of 100 lactating cows (plus heifers and calves) is maintained at the Kellogg Biological Station (Hickory Corners, MI) where the emphasis is on reproduction, physiology, and health research. A third herd of 60 lactating cows, heifers, and calves is located at the Upper Peninsula Experiment Station (Chatham, MI). This herd is used for nutrition and general dairy cattle management research and demonstration projects.