The Department of Animal Science is committed to innovative problem-solving research that benefits the livestock, poultry, and companion animal industries in Nebraska, excellent undergraduate and graduate education and training, and dynamic extension programs. The Department of Animal Science provides residential instruction, extension and outreach and research in the subject matter areas of breeding and genetics, meat science, non-ruminant and ruminant nutrition, physiology, animal well-being, production and management. Species represented in these programs include beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, swine, laboratory animals and other companion animals. Youth programs are also an important part of animal science programs. The design award-winning Animal Science Complex encompasses extensive animal teaching and research rooms, state-of-the art classrooms and laboratories, and a 475-seat indoor arena for the Animal Science Department and the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. Animal Science faculty, staff, and students at UNL support animal industries by pioneering new frontiers through research, extension and education. The vision of the Animal Science Department is "Serving animal agriculture through dynamic networks of discovery and education" and its mission is "To promote world-wide leadership in animal research and education in support of sustainable use of domestic animals for food, fiber, work and recreation, and to educate students for careers in the animal sciences."
Animal Science programs at the University of Nebraska began with the establishment of the Department of Animal Husbandry by the Board of Regents in 1898. The Department is the second largest department in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, headquartered on East Campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The staff consists of 29 faculty members on the Lincoln campus and five at three district research and extension centers, 75 graduate students, 5 courtesy faculty, a number of active emeriti, 15 adjunct professors, 25 managerial and professional staff, and 31 office and service staff. One Lincoln faculty member is jointly appointed in Biological Systems Engineering (70% BSE and 30% Animal Science). Several faculty members collaborate with ARS staff scientists at the Roman L Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center, Nebraska.
Faculty and academic staff advise about 285 undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Animal Science. The Department offers 70 undergraduate courses. Subject matter includes fundamental principles and applied aspects of animal nutrition, breeding and genetics, animal physiology and endocrinology, meat science and meat culinology, applications of molecular biology, companion animal biology, equine science, equitation, animal welfare, animal systems analysis, animal biological systems, livestock, meat animal, meat and horse evaluation, and statistics.
The research program is conducted through externally and internally funded projects managed under the Agricultural Research Division. Research activity ranges from basic molecular biology aspects of genetics/genomics/functional genomics and physiology to applied aspects of breeding and genetics, nutrition, meat science and processing, growth, production and management strategies and integrated beef systems projects. Significant collaborative research is conducted in the areas of pre-harvest food safety, nutrient and waste management, animal health, and beef production systems. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged and support is provided for joint projects across departments and between multi-state project participants. Research is conducted in vivo in small animal, poultry and livestock housing laboratories in Animal Science, at all of the animal units managed by the Department, and at facilities owned and managed by cooperating producers. Cell, embryo, and tissue culture work is also conducted.
The Department's extension programs provide transfer of information and education to clientele across the state, to cooperators in the region and to international audiences. Most aspects of animal production and value determination, nutrient management, animal health, and meat processing are encompassed with in-service training of extension educators and agribusiness personnel. Management of web sites, presentations at symposia and conferences, educational demonstrations and training at workshops and short courses, satellite conferences, NebGuide and extension circular publications, and special field days are used to achieve optimal outreach. Primary audiences are beef, swine, dairy, and poultry producers, meat processors, equine owners, 4-H and FFA youth, and ancillary industry personnel.
Nebraska's livestock industry is dynamic and growing. This is an opportunity to lead an Animal Science Department in a state where livestock is the cornerstone of the economy. Nebraska consistently ranks in the top five agricultural states in the nation, with livestock representing 60 percent of the total agricultural receipts.