What dairy-related degrees are offered?

Students interested in dairy production would take our integrated degree program in Animal Science or Agricultural Business. Within these majors, students are expected to take core courses in Animal Science, Plant & Soil Science and Agricultural Business to fully prepare for careers in the dairy industry. We have a number of courses that directly apply to dairy management including both a lower division and upper diversion course in dairy production; an upper division on-line course in organic dairy production & management; upper division courses in forage production, feeds, nutrition and ration formulation, genetics and reproductive physiology. Students can also take courses in soil fertility, crop production, farm management, agricultural policy, pricing & markets, international trade, finance, and accounting.


In 2006, the University Farm transitioned a portion of the University Farm for the purpose of developing a program in organic, pasture-based dairy production and management. This particular production paradigm was developed to bring a more sustainable dairy model into the curriculum, and also serves to expose our students to organic methodology. The unit is run by the Dairy Management Team (DMT), which includes 10 student employees who are charged with the day-to-day operations of the unit. The herd consists of 85 crossbred jersey cows that are milked seasonally with approximately four weeks of down-time over the Christmas holidays. As the students return for the spring semester, the cows begin to calve, setting the stage for the next lactation. The parlor is a traditional pit-style barn retrofitted with a new Afi-Milk System to obtain daily milk weights, somatic cells and components, as well as daily cow activity captured by small ankle pedometers. Students “learn by doing” as members of the Dairy Management Team or through directed-work experiences at our unit. They also have the opportunity to take an upper division course in Organic Dairy Production & Management. This course is a very unique opportunity for our students to learn the theory behind organic production practices, and is the first course of its kind to be offered on a university campus. Students also participate in industry events such as the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Conference on an annual basis. During these conferences, students attend seminars, assist throughout the business meeting as stewards taking notes, collecting survey data, or run media. Learn more about the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance at www.wodpa.com 

Applied Research

The facility also has an active applied research program that seeks to support the organic dairy industry. We focus on projects that can improve forage quality and dry matter intake off pasture, thus improving overall productivity and profitability on-farm. We also study the impact of forage intake on the nutritional profile of milk, including antioxidants, lipids, and carotenoids. Our latest research will look at the economic viability of fodder as a component of the dairy ration. Unfortunately, there is very little scientific data to support the use of sprouted grains in the ruminant. Our plan is generate some actual on-farm data to better understand fodder digestibility and the overall impacts of fodder on the rumen microflora. Several of our research reports and publications have been posted to eOrganic and can be accessed through the www.eorganic.info website.

Supervisor and Staff

​Dr. Cindy Daley serves as the dairy program supervisor, setting the policies and management strategies for the unit. She is also responsible for the synergy between the management and the educational and research goals for the unit. She can be reached at cdaley@csuchico.edu.

Herd Manager Darby Heffner oversees the day to day operations of the unit and spends a great deal of time training students to ensure milk quality and on-farm safety. Darby can be reached at dheffner@csuchico.edu