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Department of Animal
& Food Sciences

101 Animal Science Building
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405.744.6062
Fax: 405.744.7390

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Speaking from Experience

Teaching, research and extension facilities equip students with the tools needed for success after graduation.

The Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science offers something many universities cannot; well-equipped facilities and large herds of beef and dairy cattle, equine, sheep, goats and swine, as well as a poultry research unit. The department’s facilities encompass nearly 13,000 acres and are used for teaching, research and extension purposes.

Fully functioning farms provide hands-on learning opportunities for students to conduct research and apply what they are taught in class. Once, it was common for land-grant universities to have farm units and livestock. Due to operation and maintenance costs, many universities no longer have these important teaching facilities.

“There would have been a time that just about any land grant university we went to in the United States would have had purebred livestock through all the species,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, Department of Animal Science associate professor. “In more recent years, many have phased those out. OSU is one of the last, if not the very last.”

As supervisor of the OSU Purebred Beef Center, Johnson oversees a purebred beef cattle operation. The herd has an inventory of approximately 300 mature cows representing five breeds (Angus, Hereford, Brangus, Limousin and Simmental). The facilities and animals are used for teaching and extension purposes. Students can work at the Beef Center and help with their annual sale, the Cowboy Classic.

“Mainly, this facility is here to teach students who want to have a background in purebred seedstock or who would one day want to be a part of an annual sale or market livestock,” said Purebred Beef Herd Manager Jeremy Leister. “They get a hands-on learning experience while they are getting an education here, and you can still combine everything you want to do in the beef cattle business. You are learning how to do it the best way possible.”

Sheep Center Having these facilities at Oklahoma State University brings distinction to its animal science degree and makes the Department of Animal Science highly sought after. The department believes the knowledge and experience the students gain at these facilities is invaluable.

“We want students to have a well-rounded experience,” said Dr. Jerry Fitch, Department of Animal Science professor and state sheep specialist. “When students go out in extension, teaching or other types of jobs, they can talk from experience and be able to teach others about how you handle sheep and how you work sheep and how you manage a sheep operation.”

Fitch supervises the department’s sheep and goat center. Built in 1930, the main sheep barn is one of the oldest structures on campus. In fact, it is second only to Old Central. The farm consists of three sheep breeds (Suffolk, Hampshire and Dorset), and all are competitive on a national level. The purebred sheep and goat flocks are primarily used in teaching several Animal Science courses, as well as demonstrations and judging for 4-H, FFA and field days. These facilities allow for faculty and staff to work with large student groups or on a one-on-one basis in order to teach them about the sheep industry.

“OSU Animal Science is one of the last universities to have every one of these units,” said Darin Annuschat, sheep center herd manager. “I think keeping these units open is very important to the success of our students. You sit in the classroom and look at PowerPoint slides, but then you can come out in lab and actually work those animals, tag, tail dock, process baby lambs and learn about what grazing wheat pasture is. There are so many facets of this industry that we do right here, and that is important to the learning process.”

Swine Center Students

Class and research projects aren’t the only ways students can benefit from these facilities.Students who want to gain more experience can take it a step further by getting an internship and/or part-time job at one of the farm units. “Each unit employs multiple part-time students to aid with daily care and maintenance,” said Carrie Jansen, student success coordinator. “The farm managers are skilled, qualified individuals who enjoy imparting knowledge on their employees and helping them grow personally and professionally during their time at the farms. The opportunity to work at these facilities allows students to develop a strong work ethic, as well as critical thinking and communication skills.”

Gaining work experience with industry professionals is an invaluable asset that can set students apart when they apply for jobs after graduation.

“Students have the unique opportunity to note these experiences on their job or internship applications and talk about them in an interview,” said Jansen. “This can differentiate them from other candidates. Students find great value in the chance to visit the farms during class, but those who choose to dedicate more time have the opportunity to gain knowledge beyond the class and practice needed skills before graduation.”

Whether a student is looking for interactive classes, research opportunities or on-the-job training, the diverse and well-equipped facilities at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Animal Science are an extraordinary and crucial resource for anyone seeking to gain experience in their field of interest.

Facility Tours & Information

Interested in our facilities? Get an indepth look of our farms and research and teaching centers by watching our facility tour videos on our YouTube page, or read more about them on our website at

If you would like to tour one of our buildings or farm units, please contact Student Success Coordinator Carrie Jansen ( to schedule a visit!


REPORTER: Rebekah Alford

Rebekah Alford
Communications Specialist
Animal Science Communications
204A Animal Science
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating: Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity

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