Orval Borland was born in Stafford, Oregon. His family moved to Washington where he went to high school and later worked in the lumber mills and as a harvest hand in the wheat fields. He came to California in about 1926 and worked on farms in the Knights Landing area.
In 1928 Orval came to the University Farm where he was first employed on the farm crew and, a few months later, became the "test string" milker for the Animal Husbandry Department dairy herd under Herdsman Arthur Stottlemyer. He was in charge of milking and care of the Advanced Registry test string for ten years. Under his expert care, ten cows from the University herd established state championship records for milk and butterfat yields. During that same period the American Jersey Cattle Club awarded the University twenty-two gold medals and forty-seven silver medals in recognition of outstanding production records made by dairy cows on test.
Orval was promoted to Assistant Dairy Herdsman in 1941 and became Dairy Herdsman in 1951, a position he held until his retirement in August, 1964.
Many students gained practical experience in herdsmanship skills with Orval's patient help. He was always cooperative in planning and assisting in such student functions as Judging Day and the dairy showmanship contest of the Little International Livestock Show. Students in the Golden Hoof Club, which organized the contest, dedicated the 1956 Little "I" show to him in appreciation and recognition of his service.
Orval spent a number of years as an active committeeman in the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the California Sheep Dog Society and owned and trained Border Collies to work with dairy cattle. He loved the outdoors and spent vacations with his wife, Ruth, and two sons camping in the high Sierras. Younger faculty and staff were also included in these camping trips and Orval taught them the skills of trout fishing and family camping.
Orval and Ruth moved to Colton, Oregon, after he retired. There he built a house in a natural wooded setting. A trout stream ran through the front yard and friends were always welcome. Orval died at his home on July 2, 1976.