“Wait, Food Science?” “Feet Science?” “No…its Feed Science, like I make feed for animals.”
This is daily conversation for someone who majoring in Feed Science. You never hear about it, because Kansas State is home to the only four-year program of its kind around the world. The major first came to KSU back in 1950’s and started providing the feed industry with successful students.
“So umm…what exactly do you do with a Feed Science major?”
Basically, whatever your heart desires. There are many opportunities in the Feed Industry. My path is to be a nutritionist, working at a feedlot or a calf-cow operation. Other options include working in a Feed Mill operating the machinery and producing the feed, designing the equipment used in the milling process, or working in a lab developing new feeds, and the list goes on and on.
“Oh, so you make food for animals?”
Yes, but it’s more complicated than that. Just like humans, livestock have nutrients requirements to be healthy. Remember when grandma told you to eat all your veggies or drink a big glass of orange juice when you were sick and it actually made you feel better? That would because all the food we eat has minerals and vitamins. We need a certain requirement of all these minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats to be healthy; the requirements change for each person, depending on what kind of lifestyle you live. This is also true for each type of animal. Newborn babies wouldn’t be fed steak and potatoes, and in the same way, growing piglets wouldn’t be fed the same as an adult pig. So, how do you determine what they should be fed? That’s where a feed scientist comes in handy. First, the nutritionist and veterinarian examine the livestock and see what would be best for the animal’s diet. Then the feed formulator “designs” the formula required for the livestock. From there, the new formulation is sent to the Feed Mill where they grind and mix all the ingredients together, package it all up, and send it to farms and feedlots. At the mill, there are different types of grinding that each provide a different nutritional value and each species feed won’t be mixed the same. The feed can even go through another special process called pelleting! I bet you didn’t realize that much work went into feeding the meat in the hamburger you had earlier, huh?
“Do you like Feed Science, so far?”
Without a doubt…yes! We are a small department compared to most departments at K-State. Everyone always has a friendly face and a ready to help attitude. Since the feed industry is such an important industry to the food system and the world, there is always something to learn and new exciting opportunities. Plus, there is always free food with everything we do…and what college student doesn’t like free food?