The CALS V Bar V Ranch Agricultural Center

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The V Bar V Ranch agricultural center, part of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is a 71,000-acre public lands ranch located in central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim east of Camp Verde. The ranch ranges from 3,500 to 7,000 feet in elevation encompassing vegetation zones of high desert chaparral, pinon-juniper woodland and pine forest.

As a fully operating, working cattle ranch, the V Bar V affords University of Arizona faculty and students the opportunity to approach research in an applied, problem solving manner in combination with basic laboratory studies done on campus. Current research projects are focused on breed characterization from conception to consumption, range management/monitoring, range beef cow efficiency, heifer development, and estrous synchronization studies. Additionally, a Ranch Explorers Day is held every August as well as a variety of other training/information workshops for ranchers as the needs arise.

Dave Schafer, resident director at the V Bar V, grew up on a diversified crop and livestock operation in northwest Missouri. He developed an interest in beef cattle production early in life that was heightened through his involvement in FFA and college studies in beef cattle genetics and reproduction. He received a bachelor's degree in animal science from Northwest Missouri State University and went on to get his master's degree and doctorate from Colorado State University (CSU) in animal breeding/genetics.

"While a graduate student, I was hired by CSU to coordinate activities and records for two of their beef cattle research centers," Schafer said. "I later entered a post-doctoral program at one of these centers for two years then went on to become manager of that center for six years before coming to Arizona. The hands-on experiences I gained while in school through my travels to university agricultural research centers have been invaluable to me."

He adds that the V Bar V Ranch provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience working with beef cattle, range management, wildlife and daily activities associated with ranching.

"It is also a great venue for hosting workshops for ranchers and field days for the general public to educate them on not only what we do at the ranch and on campus but also the importance of agriculture in their daily lives."

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