By Elise Regusci
Sophomore, Dairy Science major
As one of the only universities on the West Coast with an established and renowned Dairy Science program, Cal Poly attracts some of the most driven, talented dairy science students in the nation. As a dairy science major, I am overwhelmed with the number of activities offered relating to dairy science in and out of the classroom. Here are a few ways students who are interested in the dairy industry Learn by Doing at Cal Poly.
Dairy Judging Team
Coming to Cal Poly I knew I wanted to participate on the Dairy Judging Team. I began dairy judging in 4-H and became accustomed evaluating dairy cattle early on. The collegiate level is more fast-paced and rigorous than high school because most contests have five sets of reasons and 10 classes. My favorite part of dairy judging is traveling to different farms and practicing our judging, as we get to see some of the best dairy cattle in their respective breeds. Most recently, our senior team placed 7th High Team at the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Madison, Wisconsin. I am looking forward to representing Cal Poly in Louisville, Kentucky at the North American Intercollegiate Judging Contest . Whatever the outcome of the contests may be, Dairy Judging continues to help improve my skills in public speaking, decision-making, and critical thinking skills I will use in my future in agriculture.
Los Lecheros Dairy Club
With more than 100 members involved, the Los Lecheros Dairy Club is a passionate group of students from many majors. The club holds a monthly meeting which includes dinner, business, and an activity. Many meetings include guest speakers who share career opportunities and internship programs such as Hilmar Cheese, Elanco, and Valley Ag Software. In addition, members can participate on intramural volleyball, softball, or basketball teams. One of the volunteer activities within the club are “Dairy Club Clean Up” days at the dairy. Students clean and organize the dairy’s facilities once a quarter. As the Los Lecheros Dairy Club Ag Council Representative, I am responsible for representing the club at weekly Ag Council meetings and relaying information to fellow members. I am looking forward to an exciting year and welcome all to join our Wednesday meetings in the dairy pavilion!
A key example of how students can gain experience of dairy management skills is the calving enterprise instructed by Mr. Rich Silacci. This fall quarter is the second time the enterprise has been offered. Students are given the opportunity to learn how to calve dairy cattle by participating in groups. Each group has a leader who oversees the students. Some responsibilities include watching close-up cows (cows close to calving), helping with difficult calvings, and milking cows for first time post-calving. The calving enterprise truly teaches students on-farm skills they will be able to use in their future careers.
Being involved in the dairy unit at Cal Poly provides many opportunities at the tips of student fingertips. I am thankful for my experiences during my time at Cal Poly and I look forward learning during the rest of my time in college.