Animal ciences and Agricultural Education – units and facilities
Quarter Horse Unit
The Fresno State Quarter Horse Unit (QHU) offers a unique opportunity for Fresno State students to raise and manage quarter horses. It provides a setting for animal science classes covering breeding and selection; nutritional investigations; health and disease control; general horse handling techniques; internship work and other related activities.
The unit also operates as a breeding enterprise. It houses approximately 50 horses; some 15 are broodmares and the rest are weanlings, yearlings and two- and three-year-olds. The unit stands two stallions which breed to Fresno State's mares and outside mares. The young horses are raised for sale. Well-bred quarter horse yearlings, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds, and broodmares are for sale at all times. The unit is open to the general public. Visitors are welcome any time during daylight hours to view the facilities and learn more about our programs and horses for sale.
Student Horse Center
The Student Horse Center at Fresno State is a multi-purpose facility serving a broad clientele, including students who wish to board their horses on campus at affordable rates, students enrolled in Equitation and Horsemanship courses, and student athletes on the Women's Equestrian Team. The horse center is run and operated by students, providing them a variety of opportunities for the care, exercise and feeding of all university- and privately-owned horses housed at the center.
The facility features three barns for stabling student-owned horses. It also boasts a large outdoor arena, trailer parking space, and other amenities. The arena serves as “home field” for Fresno State’s NCAA Divison 1 Equestrian Team and also as a training venue for students enrolled in courses such as English and Western riding. An adjacent arena is used as a training facility by the Bulldoggers Rodeo Club.
The California State University, Fresno Dairy Unit maintains two different breeds of dairy cattle – the Holstein and the Jersey. The facility houses approximately 250 cows, with about 150 used in the milk string. Each cow in the milk string is milked twice a day and seven days a week, with no exceptions to holidays. Milking time is at 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day. Dairy cattle primarily eat alfalfa hay and corn silage. All animals the milk string are fed a concentrate comprised of supplements such as rolled corn, barley, protein pellets, cottonseeds and molasses. If the cows get overheated, their milk production volume decreases significantly; therefore during the summer months water misters installed in the barn help keep them cool and comfortable.
Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility
Fresno State’s poultry unit serves as an education, research and production facility for the Department of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education. The newest facility is a 16,000-square-foot state-of-the-art broiler house completed in 2013 through a collaborative effort between the university and Foster Poultry Farms. A separate turkey facility, built in 1993, is an 8,000-square-foot pen style house. The poultry are raised by student employees and volunteers under faculty guidance. The birds are harvested and processed at the Foster Farms and Zacky Farms facilities in the Fresno area, with a percentage of the processed birds sold under the Fresno State label at the Gibson Farm Market.
The university is committed to a strict biosecurity program, an animal welfare program as well as a stringent confidentiality policy with companies partnering in research. Students in the Poultry Science Club work at the facilites and travel throughout the year to seminars, shows, and industry meetings. Most of the university’s 600 animal science related students use the poultry unit at some point in their educational process.
The Fresno State Beef Unit raises purebred cattle for breeding purposes. The unit maintains 200 head of heifers, bulls and feedlot cattle and 50 purebred cows, raised on 60 acres of irrigated pasture and in the feedlot – all located adjacent to the northern edge of the Fresno State campus. Key breeds are Charolais and Angus. The cattle are sold to other cattle producers as breeding stock or kept as replacements for our program.
The unit employs five students, with another 30 involved in research and internship programs each year. The beef unit facilities serve as a training ground for students learning livestock and meat evaluation and all phases of commercial production including artificial insemination and embryo transfer.
San Joaquin Experimental Range
The San Joaquin Experimental Range (SJER) is a 4,500-acre rangeland facility managed by Fresno State through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Located in the Sierra foothills about 20 miles north of Fresno, the range supports a commercial beef cow-calf herd of approximately 260 head, giving Fresno State students a chance to gain practical experience in the commercial-production phase of cattle industry. The range employs several students and serves as a training ground for livestock management classes. It also serves as a research facility for scientists from different disciplines and agencies. Current projects involve comparing various genotypes for productivity on native range; evaluating high intensity–short duration grazing; and comparing methods of protein supplementation on native range.
The Fresno State Meat Lab is a full service USDA-inspected meat processing and slaughter facility, equipped with modern processing equipment. It is the only university meat lab that specializes in Italian dry products, with our flagship products of Calabrese, a spicy salami, and Red Wine and Garlic salami. The lab is a 100-percent student-run facility – under the supervision of faculty from the Department of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education.
The lab employs from eight to 10 students and provides training for the same number of student volunteers. Students have developed and routinely market 30 different varieties of pork, lamb and beef sausages. They frequently work in collaboration with local companies, helping to develop and quality test new and existing products. Meat lab products can be purchased at the Gibson Farm Market, Cravings Wood Grill, Michelangelo’s Italian Pizzeria, and China Peak ski resort.
Fresno State’s Swine Unit maintains a herd of from 250 to 300 pigs of all ages – usually about 60 sows and eight boars and the rest young pigs. Typical weight of an adult pig is 500 to 650 pounds. The unit maintains four major breeds: The Yorkshire, the Landrace, the Hampshire and the Duroc. Yorkshire and Landrace hogs are known more for their maternal ability, while the Hampshire and Duroc are used for meat.
Pigs raised at the swine unit are used for several purposes. Many of the feeder pigs are sold as project animals for 4-H and FFA market projects. Others are kept or sold for breeding purposes. Fresno State students are involved in all phases of the swine unit; some are employed to manage the unit, while animal science students gain practical experience in production, processing, breeding and marketing.
Fresno State’s Sheep Unit houses approximately 100 mature ewes, raised and sold mainly for 4-H and FFA project lambs, as well as for meat production. Some lambs are also kept as replacement breeding stock at the unit. Most of the ewes are used for breeding at the Sheep Unit. All breeding is done by natural cover, meaning the ram is turned out with the ewes for four months. Students watch the ewes and will assist with the birth if necessary. The sheep at Fresno State graze on pasture and are fed alfalfa hay and a concentrate containing rolled corn, rolled barley, soybean meal and molasses. Animal science students – both employees and those involved in animal science classes – sheer or shave the sheep once a year in the spring. The wool is placed in large bags and sold. It is cleaned and used to produce sweaters, blankets, carpet and clothing.
Animal Science Pavilion
Fresno State’s Animal Science Pavilion is a 30,000-square-foot facility designed for an array of large-scale indoor events and competitions. The enclosed, covered pavilion features a dirt floor and bench seating on one side capable of holding 800 spectators. The facility hosts a number of major annual events such as the Red Wave Show and Sale and judging competitions for the State FFA Leadership Conference, as well as many other events for showing and judging horses, beef cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Faculty from the Department of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education regularly use the pavilion for teaching a variety of their courses that include animal training and judging.