Instruction in dairy began on the campus of the South Dakota Agricultural College as early as the first decade of the school’s existence. The first course in dairy was taught in 1890 and the first appropriation for “The South Dakota Dairy School” was made in 1891. The Dairy Science Department was officially formed in 1907 as the Dairy Husbandry Department. The department through the operation of a dairy farm and a dairy processing plant has achieved distinction in dairy education, research, and extension. Over the 100 years of existence, alumni from the department have played a significant role in shaping the dairy industry of the nation. The department currently has 13 faculty members. Undergraduate student enrollment in the department peaked at 90 students in the period 1975-1985. After a steady decline over the next 15 years to 45 students, enrollment is currently increasing. Current (2016-2017) enrollment is 110 undergraduate students, 20 M.S. students, and 10 Ph.D. candidates. In 2016 the department awarded approximately $124,000 in scholarships and awards to undergraduate and graduate students. The inclusion of dairy production and manufacturing has been a hallmark of the department and today, only two universities around the country offer such programs. Thus, placement for our students is 100%. In 2015 Food Science was added as a major.
The mission of the Dairy and Food Science Department is to help create a prosperous future for the dairy and food industry of South Dakota, the region, nation, and world.
The vision of the Dairy and Food Science Department is to be a national and international leader in dairy and food education, research, and Extension.
Values. We will:
- Have a passion for and commitment to excellence
- Be flexible, responsive, and innovative
- Have superior performance
- Exhibit loyalty and commitment to mission
- Value people and be inclusive; treat all with dignity and respect
- Be accountable, trustworthy, and professional
- Act with honesty, integrity, and pride
- Seek and welcome feedback for continuous improvement
- Value engagement, service, stewardship, and civic responsibility
- Control our destiny
The strategic intent of the Dairy and Food Science Department is to be a nationally distinct, locally relevant, accessible provider of dairy and food education, research, and Extension and be a leader among peers and stakeholders.
The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has identified five areas of excellence:
- Biorenewable economic development
- Applied genome technology solutions
- Natural resource stewardship
- Community innovation and leadership
- Enhancing economic development of grain/livestock/food systems
The primary strategic emphasis of the Dairy and Food Science Department will be within the theme of “enhancing economic development of grain/livestock/food system”. Within this theme, the focus of the department will be in dairy cattle nutrition and management, dairy product processing, and dairy food safety. The department will also contribute to all themes through collaborative, interdisciplinary work, especially in the theme of “biorenewable energy economic development”.
The department’s strategic goals are:
1. Enhance academic, scholarship and outreach excellence in Dairy and Food Science.
a. Vigorous development of teaching, advising, research and Extension programs in dairy cattle nutrition, products processing, and food safety.
b. Recruiting of highest quality staff and faculty.
c. Partnerships with industry in curriculum development and research projects.
d. Professional development of students, staff and faculty.
2. Expand the reach of the Department through engagement, technology and globalization.
a. Industry partnerships for program development.
b. Development of Extension programs.
c. Active participation in the Midwest Dairy Consortium.
d. Maintain active links with alumni.
3. Establish facilities and a sustainable resource base essential for excellence.
a. Build new dairy plant, and remodel dairy farm, research and teaching labs.
b. Establish an Institute for Dairy Ingredient Processing.
c. Increase scholarship offerings for students.
4. Expand the Dairy and Food Science Department’s contribution to the economy of South Dakota and quality of life.
a. Increase undergraduate student enrollment to 100 and graduate student enrollment to 20.
b. Expand programs in concert with industry for placement of graduates for internships and permanent positions.
c. Engage with industry and Extension Educators to deliver science-based information to stakeholders.