The dairy industry plays a critical role in human health as dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium and protein to keep bones and teeth strong, prevent osteoporosis and diabetes, and enhance weight loss. A recent Johns Hopkins University study found that a diet in which roughly a quarter of the calories came from lean protein sources reduced blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides better than a traditional lower protein diet. High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer time. The cumulative effect has obvious health benefits.
Considering the obesity epidemic, and the value this country is placing on health and nutrition, there is an obvious need for dairy producers, dairy nutrition consultants, as well as mammary and reproductive physiologists. Although there is a multitude of opportunities within the sciences, employment opportunities also lie within the dairy breed associations, publications, and marketing. Now is the time to jump feet first into the dairy industry because the need is there. Opportunities are endless.
Be a part of something BIG and Do Something Great! No matter where your interests lie, or the skills you have, you can go on to:
- Create your own dairy nutrition consulting business.
- Promote the dairy industry as a communications and marketing representative.
- Manage a major dairy operation.
- Serve as in artificial insemination technologist.
- Design breeding programs as a dairy quantitative geneticist
Degree Sheets and 4-year Plans
Courses in genetics, physiology, nutrition, and management provide the basis for learning more about dairy production, management, evaluation & selection, dairy products, and animal health and welfare. Many of the classes are taught at our animal facilities and teaching laboratories that provide hands-on opportunities for you to gain practical animal experience. Additional courses provide the basis for understanding the underlying biological and physiological mechanisms that provide the foundation for effective animal production systems. The courses you will take in the department will teach you about:
- Dairy Herd Management
- Dairy Cattle and Mammary Health
- Milking Management
- Reproductive Physiology
- Nutrition and Pricing Feeds
- Quality Forage Production
- Small Business Management, Record Keeping, and Marketing
- Building and Freestall Design
Our dairy farm allows students a unique chance to gain hands-on opportunities working with dairy cows and to learn management practices first hand. Industry guest speakers also frequent our classrooms to allow students the opportunity to network and discuss their careers.
Dairy Certificate Program
If you are interested in studying dairy science, why not consider the Dairy Certificate Program. You will already be taking the courses and participating in dairy-related extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. The Dairy Certification Program is a formalized program in the Department that will guide you through a set of required courses, an internship, and opportunities to participate in the Dairy Challenge, attend professional meetings, and participate in extension programs. When you graduate, you will have a strong background in dairy science and a certificate proving your knowledge and skills, making you more marketable and competitive for a career in the dairy industry.
Dairy Judging Team
As a member of the Dairy Judging Team, you will participate in three to four contests held throughout the year in various locations in the country. Most of the contests are held during the fall quarter while others are held during the winter and spring quarters. The Dairy Judging Team provides you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of dairy judging while improving your oral presentation skills. It is also a great opportunity to network with industry professionals, tour dairy farms, and make lasting friendships. Read more
Dairy Challenge Program
If you want to learn more about dairy management and/or put your skills to the test, consider participating in the Dairy Challenge. Each year, teams of three to four students evaluate the strengths and opportunities of a farm and present their ideas to management in a contest sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition. The winning team will represent The Ohio State University at the Midwest Dairy Challenge and eventually the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. Read more
Internships and Research
Major industry employers want employees who have the ability to think critically, communicate well, and work effectively in teams. Conducting a research project as an undergraduate or completing an internship will help you learn those skills while gaining real-world experience. Many research and internship opportunities exist locally in Columbus, Ohio; however, our students have completed internship and research opportunities across the country and around the globe. The benefit of gaining this hands-on experience allows you to further shape your career goals while making you more competitive for employment after graduation. It’s not uncommon for students to find full-time employment at places where they completed internships. Participating in undergraduate research also allows you opportunities to present research at industry meetings and through College and University research forums. Read more on Internships or Read more on Research.
Whether you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, production specialist, animal trainer, or researcher, you will interact with international clients, vendors, colleagues, and technology. Studying abroad will help prepare you. Thirty-five percent of our animal science majors will graduate with at least one study abroad experience, adding to their marketability in a competitive market. Read more about Study Abroad.
Student Organizations & Co-curricular Activities
Getting involved in at least one student organization on campus is arguably the most important thing you can do once you step foot on campus. Joining a club is like joining the perfect family. Everyone involved has the same interests, and in some cases, the same career goals. Most students find their closest circle of friends through student organizations. Read more about departmental organizations you might want to check out.
Meet Our Students
ANNIE EILENFELD, Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences
What did you want to be when you were little? How/has that changed? Why? Growing up on a beef farm, I knew I wanted to work with cattle in my career and after working with a veterinarian, I knew becoming a food animal vet was the right choice for me then and now.
Do you have a favorite collegiate club? I have a tie- Alpha Zeta Partners and The Buckeye Dairy Club! AZP allowed me to study abroad in Brazil and expand my leadership skills within the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Dairy Club has a lot of community outreach and hands-on activities like the Buckeye Royal showmanship contest, or Milk a Cow on the Oval.
What is your favorite animal science class? Why? I loved Animal Sciences 630.03 Feeding Management and Records Analysis for Dairy Cattle. It focused on troubleshooting real dairy farms and how to help farmers improve their production.
How has the animal sciences department and your animal sciences classes helped you during your time here at Ohio State? The people in the animal sciences department have become my family and through their support I have had so many wonderful opportunities-study abroad trips, judging teams, and research. They have kept me involved and excited about starting a career in animal sciences.
STEPHANIE NEAL, Senior. Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences
What did you want to be when you were little? How/has that changed? Why? Since I can remember I have always wanted to be around animals. In elementary school, I would spend days in the creek beds and lakes around my house catching turtles and frogs. I would rescue strays, and without my parent’s knowledge, keep them in our garage in my own “veterinarian clinic”. I knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian and work with animals. This dream molded itself as I became older and began raising livestock. As I matured I knew I wanted a career in agriculture, one that worked with livestock and the people within the agricultural industries.
Why do you love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State? I love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State because of how many different hands-on opportunities if affords me. As as Animal Sciences student, I have been able to be on a livestock judging team, do research in ruminant nutrition, take classes I was passionate about, work with live animals at the livestock units, as well as be a teaching assistant for an animal sciences class. Coming from a non-traditional agriculture background, I never thought I would get to experience as much as I have within the agricultural industries. But Animal Sciences has allowed me to do that.
How has the animal sciences department and your animal sciences classes helped you during your time here at Ohio State? It has shaped where I am going to go with my career and who I am going to be. Not growing up on a traditional farm and only with a few steers, my knowledge about the agricultural industries was limited. Not only did I gain knowledge and contacts within these industries but I was able to learn about the science behind it through my animal sciences classes.
What is the coolest thing about being a student at Ohio State? OPPORTUNITY!! Anything you want to learn about or experience is here at Ohio State. There is a whole community of people here at your disposal, and it is great to know that they are as committed to my success as I am.
HANNA LEMLE, Senior. Major: Animal Sciences, Minor: Life Sciences; Food Safety
Why do you love the Animal Sciences program at Ohio State? It’s unique. It’s diverse. Above all, the faculty and staff in the Animal Sciences program are there FOR students. They are friends and mentors on top of being teachers and researchers.
How do you balance your class work and real life? Don’t sweat the small stuff and know your limits. This philosophy sounds simple, but for many (including myself) it takes a little while to fully understand and be able to practice. A planner is very handy. Form good relationships with bosses, professors and others so that if you ever have a conflict, it can be resolved easily and without a lot of stress to either party.
What was your favorite animal science class? Why? 355.01-Principles of Meat Science. It involved hard-core scientific concepts in a real-world application. I took it sophomore year, and while taking it I realized that the meat industry is a huge passion of mine. Even when I went on to take organic and biochemistry I thought back to 355.01 and how many of the concepts were exactly the same.
Do you know what you want to do after college? Do you have a job lined up? How would you like to use your degree? Upon graduation, I will be moving to Nebraska to work for Cargill Meat Solutions as a Technical Services (otherwise known as quality assurance) Associate. I can’t say for sure what other capacities I might fill as my career continues on, but what I do know is that I want to be somewhere between farm gate and consumer plate.
The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences maintains facilities in Columbus and Wooster. These facilities and animals are used for endeavors involving teaching, research, and outreach. Read more about the department’s facilities.