Two students stand next to a bovine animal in a cattle-working facility.

Beef Cattle Research Complex Extends Classroom Beyond the Main Campus

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Some of the largest NDSU classrooms that offer students opportunities to learn and develop real-world skills exist just west of the main campus. Take a drive along Fargo’s 19th Avenue North, and you’ll find the NDSU Department of Animal Sciences’ (ANSC) animal units and NDSU’s Beef Cattle Research Complex (BCRC).

The complex, dedicated in the summer of 2011, can accommodate up to 192 cattle. It consists of a feeding area, cattle handling system, calving pens, an office and laboratory, and mixing and feed storing facility. Fewer than six facilities of this caliber exist in North America.

A computerized feeding system allows researchers to study individual feed intake and feeding behavior.

The state-of-the-art cattle handling system allows researchers to weigh and process cattle, and take a variety of samples with low stress to the animal.

“Both undergraduate and graduate students are learning how to carry out high-level research protocols and conduct industry-leading research,” says Kendall Swanson, NDSU ANSC professor who oversees the complex.

“The facility provides students taking Animal Science and Veterinary Technology courses an opportunity to work with cattle and learn good animal-handling techniques in a properly designed animal-handling system,” says Swanson.

Brooke St. Germain, a Fargo-native and third year student at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, appreciated the hands-on learning at the BCRC, during her time as a student in the NDSU Veterinary Technology degree program.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch,” says St. Germain. “NDSU gave me opportunities to get essential experience working with large animals in my classes and as a student employee.”

“The beef cattle research complex is just one of the many facilities that enhance and strengthen students’ education while they are here at NDSU,” says David Buchanan, NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources (CAFSNR) associate dean. “I think CAFSNR is unique in that we prioritize and recognize the value of hands-on and practical learning opportunities.”


NDSU's Beef Cattle Research Complex

Kendall Swanson, 701-231-6502,