For centuries farmers have been breeding livestock in order to produce higher quality results. While this can be as simple as pairing the best bull with the best heifer, true livestock breeders implement scientific principles such as genetics, reproductive physiology and statistics to obtain the higher quality down to a molecular level.
It does no good, however, for farm animal breeders to guess at these scientific principles. To truly gain the desired results, many farmers and cattle semen and embryo collection companies must undergo livestock breeding and genetics education and training, such as the following:
1. A masters or PhD in livestock breeding and genetics can be very helpful in this field.
2. Membership in groups dealing with the breeding of livestock can provide valuable information.
3. Reading the latest articles on breeding farm animals will keep you apprised of new techniques and genetic advancements.
Earn a graduate degree in livestock breeding and geneticsMany universities offer graduate degree programs in animal breeding and genetics. These programs often center around research in an attempt to discover new breeding techniques or genetic pairing possibilities. Typically, a bachelors in animal science is the prerequisite, emphasizing, through course selection, your ultimate goal.
Texas A&M University offers degree programs in animal breeding and genetics. There are varying graduate degrees offered by Iowa State University’s Department of Animal Science that have a traditional emphasis on quantitative genetics. For those who simply want to learn the basics, Agtech, a cattle insemination supply company, offers hands-on learning opportunities on artificial insemination.
Keep up with organizations that release information for farm animal breedersThere are several organizations available that provide information and resources to their members. Participation in these groups would not only provide helpful information, but would keep you apprised of new developments in the field of animal genetics. They also often organize events such as conferences and seminars for additional training opportunities.
United States Department of Agriculture - Cooperative State Research, The Education and Extension Service has a group devoted entirely to animal breeding, genetics and genomics, which provides resources and information on upcoming events, in addition to research development. The National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium is a cooperative of animal breeding researchers from Colorado State University, Cornell University and the University of Georgia. Visit their website for information on events and recent articles on the subject.