Dairy Herdsmen Upgrade Their Skills Through Shortcourse

The Issue

On many dairies, herdsmen either lack sufficient general training or they need to upgrade their skills to adequately manage large-sized dairies. In response to requests from throughout the Central Valley, the Dairy Herdsman Shortcourse was created to present the latest information in dairy herd management and to improve herdsman skills.

What Has ANR Done?

UCCE dairy advisors developed the Shortcourse with the assistance of Extension dairy specialists and California State University-Fresno faculty. Facilities and dairy cattle were made available through collaboration with CSU-Fresno. Two local dairy producers were involved in planning and selecting topics. Speakers came from UCCE dairy advisors, specialists and CSUF faculty.

The shortcourse, publicized through newsletters and popular trade magazines, was held for three days in October 2001 and again in April 2002. Attendance was limited to 40 participants to allow for better informal instruction. Simultaneous translation was provided to Spanish-speaking attendees.

Although the shortcourse is organized for dairies in the Central Valley, the material could be used throughout the state by UCCE dairy advisors.

The Payoff

Herdsmen improve their dairy husbandry knowledge

For both shortcourse sessions, a waiting list was generated of participants wanting to attend. Participants were tested at the beginning and conclusion of the shortcourse, and more than 70% improved their scores on the post-test. An evaluation completed by participants rated the shortcourse as excellent to very good. Informal responses from participants were enthusiastic.


Supporting Unit: Fresno County

Gerald Higginbotham, Ph.D