Cal Poly administrators announced yesterday in a press release that the planned reduction to the university’s dairy herd would be put on hold.
The announcement comes after members of the dairy science department protested the reduction over the weekend. The protest took place on Friday and Saturday at the Embassy Suites as well as at Cal Poly.
The reduction was planned because of budget restrictions. But according to the press release alumni and dairy industry supporters have offered to help the university manage the herd. The form of support that is being offered is still unclear.
“We’re very grateful that some of the nation’s most savvy dairy producers have offered to work with Cal Poly to help us devise a good business strategy,” said dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Resources David Wehner in a press release.
“There’s no question that everyone in the dairy industry is struggling through a tough economy. Dairy prices have plummeted, and our friends in the industry understand the challenge we face at Cal Poly to maintain a herd size that is financially rational.’’
Cal Poly’s dairy science department is currently the largest university dairy program in California and has 150 milking cows as well, as young stock and cows that can no longer produce milk. The program does not use any state money. Instead it relies on dairy sales and endowments.
While the reduction of the herd has been put on hold the dairy science program is still planning on cutting the number of cows.
Bruce Golden, head of the department said in a press release that he hopes the reduction is temporary.
“If market conditions improve faster than we plan we can turn the plan around and re-grow the herd,” he said in the release.
The release said the college is planning to reduce the number of young stock as well as the overall herd until the program can be more financially sustainable.