Teaching Materials

Welcome to the Farm Credit Knowledge Center Blog!  This blog is a combination of posts from industry experts, Knowledge Center staff and guest contributors covering all aspects of agriculture and life in the country.  We want you to participate in this blog, sharing your thoughts and comments about the topics posted here.

A Cow Is A Cow Is A Cow - Breeds of Livestock

Breeds of livestock can be both exciting and challenging to teach. A cow is a cow is a cow right?


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(Pictured left to right: Ankole-Watusi, Brahman, Hereford and Hereford x Angus (Black Baldie))

For students who don't know anything about the different breeds of livestock, just providing the basics can be complicated. Explaining that different breeds provide different characteristics and the concept of crossbreeding to combine desired traits is not something that many without an agricultural background have ever considered.

For students who have at least a knowledge of the major breeds, it can become even more interesting introducing nuances of less popular breeds and what they can also contribute. Many have already developed opinions based on their own experiences and backgrounds, and expanding those can be a challenge.

Oklahoma State University offers an excellent resources for breeds of livestock. It can be overwhelming as it offers information on not only breeds in the United States, but around the world. When possible they provide information on origins, uses, functions, features, and best of all - pictures! They also offer a brief description of what a breed is and why these livestock are so important to everyone. All of this is provided online at http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/.

There are a couple of other sites on breeds in the United States which are specific to different species as well. They are:

Breeds of Beef Cattle in the United States
Breeds of Dairy Cattle in the United States
Breeds of Swine in the United States
Breeds of Sheep in the United States
Breeds of Horses in the United States

Be sure to check these out - but we recommend waiting until you have some time because it is easy to be drawn into looking at all the different breeds and realizing just how diverse the livestock world truly is.

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(Pictured left to right: Awassi (sheep) and Lithuanian Native (swine))