James Oltjen

Cooperative Extension Overview

The University of California, Davis Animal Science Extension program is composed of nine department-and regionally-based statewide specialists and a programmer/analyst, linked to county-based Cooperative Extension livestock and dairy farm advisors. Extension specialists provide teaching, research and outreach programs on Dairy Management and Health, Dairy Nutrition, Livestock Air Quality, Livestock Systems Management, Livestock Waste Management, Poultry and Avian Biology and Management, and Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture

Animal Science Extension in California is unusual in many regards. This was the first state to hire a specialist for animal waste management and one of few states in the Western United States with an aquaculture specialist as members of an animal science department. An international reputation has been earned for designing and writing computer programs to help with ration formulation and recordkeeping to aid animal producers with rational, economical, management decisions. Major publications have been written, and are used internationally, which address all phases in the maturation, reproduction and hatchery care of sturgeon, and all aspects of oyster production. Many of the California dairy advisors have more cows in their assigned county or area than can be found in entire states. Specialists and farm advisors all conduct applied research as well as traditional extension educational activities. Many of the farm advisors have developed special statewide roles in areas such as watershed management, public policy and land use, animal welfare, swine and sheep production, waste management, mastitis control, worker safety, and quality assurance.

Research and outreach activities of the specialists and advisors are as diverse as the state of California. A publication on guidelines for manure management on large drylot dairies for use by people involved in public policy decision making is now being developed and written. Publications have been completed on guidelines for animal care practices of swine, beef, dairy, and sheep. These publications target people interested in public policy about animal welfare from a scientific point of view.