Cal Poly’s animal science department is undergoing big changes with the construction of four new buildings.
The newly built hay barn and beef center is located across from Cuesta Community College off Education Boulevard in the hills, was part of Escuela Ranch. The other two buildings, the meats processing center and feed mill, will be built by Cal Poly’s poultry unit on Stenner Creek Road.
The reconstruction is the result of a senior project that initially had the buildings set in Chorro Park, but due to environmental factors was moved to their current location.
The project has been in the planning stages for six years and those involved since the beginning can’t believe the progress.
“I think, man, this is my design being put together,” said professor Mike Hall, a beef cattle specialist.
Hall said the project is a great experience and is proud of the students working so hard to build structures that will last long enough to bring their children to see one day.
So far, the project has cost nearly $4 million, but could easily reach $14 million, Hall said. But thanks to $8 million from the Cal Poly Housing Project, a methionine settlement and generous donations, the new facilities are becoming a reality.
Seven students are working 12-hour days to finish setting up corral fences and pens at beef center to get everything together in time for the 50th annual bull test sale set for Oct.
“I think it’s really valuable that people who will be working the center are also building it,” said agriculture system management major Billy Freeman.
The first delivery of bulls arrived July 28. There are normally 300 bulls to care for, but this year there will be half that number due to delays in construction because of rain.
The new equipment at the center’s site will feature the latest technology to assist in low-stress bull raising. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will be inserted into the bulls to allow for less contact.
Fraymond, who will be managing the bull sale this year, explained that the beef center will be a “Good base for all our projects and students.” The beef center will hold classes on breeding, research embryo insemination and instruct watershed courses in conjunction with local fish and game.
The only drawback to the new buildings is the distance from campus.
However, a residence will be built to house five students to live on site.
Ground has been broken on a feed mill that will be designed for poultry, swine and equine feed and on the other dairy and beef cattle. It will supply campus livestock and specialty diets for animal research. Students will be exposed to the food processing industry with workshops and training seminars.
In order to begin construction on the meats processing center, more funding is needed. John Lau of Modesto made a $1 million gift donation and the center will be named after him and his family.