Future Looks Bright for OSU's Animal Science DepartmentThu, 23 Jul 2015 16:36:19 CDT
It's an exciting time for the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department, with enthusiasm from students and a vision to stay relevant to the state's livestock producers. Enrollment continues to grow in the university's largest department within the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and remains to be one of the largest departments on campus. OSU Animal Science Department Head Dr. Clint Rusk is expecting a large incoming class to start this fall in admitting 230 plus freshmen and 88 transfer students. The largest option within the department is the Pre-Vet option for students wanting to become veterinarians. Rusk said 82 percent of the incoming freshman in the Animal Science Department have enrolled in the pre-vet option. The department has had a very good track record in preparing students for veterinary school. The OSU Veterinary Department accepts 80 to 90 students annually and 30 to 40 of those have been OSU Animal Science graduates.
OSU's Animal Science department continues to add faculty and researchers to address the major challenges facing animal agriculture. Rusk said their department has hired specialists to address sustainability, food safety, forages and animal welfare. He said the Oklahoma Beef Council provided support for OSU's endowed professorship in honor of animal scientist and autistic expert Temple Grandin.
Researchers are looking at global issues, like water usage. OSU has received a million dollar grant for a five year study looking at water intake of cattle. Rusk said Dr. Megan Rolf is the Primary Investigator on the project. At the Willard Sparks Beef Cattle Research Center, she has been measuring individual feed and water intake and how different genetic lines effect water intake. With Rolf's role in research and extension, Rusk said she will be sharing the results of the study and hopefully this will benefit the bottom-line of producers.
During the summer months, Dr. Rusk has been recruiting students to come to OSU. Recently, he participated in the National Junior Angus Show and the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress that were both held in Tulsa. He said it's easy to walk up to students from other states and find they are interested in OSU. Part of that is because of OSU's reputation and where OSU Alumni have gone after graduation. Rusk also credits the university's commitment to hands-on learning opportunities.
"Animal units are costly, but we think they're very important and our animal units have had a rich history," Rusk said. "At Oklahoma State, we've tried to maintain purebred livestock at many of our livestock units and the students have an opportunity to come and work with high quality animals. Today the need for those units, I think is greater than it's ever been."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Dr. Clint Rusk on Thursday, doing both a video interview to be aired on Saturday morning on KWTV News9 as well as a more extensive audio conversation. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the audio interview.
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