Large animal veterinarian gives back

Farm Forum

Working with livestock is something Dave Barz has enjoyed since childhood – feeding cattle on his family’s Iowa farm. However, it’s getting to know the people who make up South Dakota agriculture that the large animal veterinarian and owner of Northwest Vet & Supply says is most rewarding.

“My clients are technically not the large animals I treat but people who own them and who’s living is impacted by the health of these animals,” Barz said.

In addition to spending his days on farm calls or in the Vet Shack at Mitchell Livestock Auction, Barz also invests in educating his clients by hosting workshops and demonstrations throughout the year, writing a twice monthly column for agriculture publications and contributing to the Send a Cow to College Campaign. Proceeds from this campaign go to fund the new South Dakota State University Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility.

“Education is the backbone of every good cattle operation,” Barz said. “I see my role as a veterinarian to connect my clients to the best research and information so they can make the best decisions for their cattle operation.”

Cody Wright, a professor in the Department of Animal Science at SDSU explained that Send a Cow to College campaign is designed so cattle producers can make a tax free donation to the future of cattle research and development within the state.

“Cull cows represent about 15 percent of the income in a cow/calf operation. Although their contributions to the sustainability of the operation cease when they are marketed, producers now have a way of continuing the contributions of these animals through this campaign,” Wright said. “Supporters of the cattle industry are being asked to play a role by donating dollars or the proceeds from a cull cow or group of cull cows to the SDSU Foundation to make the SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility a reality.

Funds generated through this campaign will be utilized to construct a new state-of-the-art Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility at SDSU. The Facility has an estimated cost of $4.1 million. A little over half of that total has been raised at this point, some coming from the generosity of individuals, financial institutions, businesses and organizations that have already made substantial contributions to the Facility. However, the funding effort is far from complete.

Building for the Future

The current SDSU Cow/Calf Unit was constructed in the 1950’s and a little over a year ago, about half of it was destroyed by fire. Enrollment of students pursuing degrees in Animal Science has doubled in the past few years – and continues to increase.

By participating in the Send a Cow to College campaign, South Dakotans who support agriculture can assist SDSU in providing Animal Science students with the facilities that will prepare them to be competitive in the ever evolving cattle industry.

How you can participate

South Dakota auction market owners understand the program and are willing to provide the opportunity for cattle producers to participate in the Send a Cow to College campaign.

“The process is simple,” said Barz, who is active in fundraising for the new center. “Cattlemen willing to support this cause should complete a Deed of Gift form that is available at their auction market of choice. This transfers ownership of the cow or cows to the SDSU Foundation and relieves cattlemen of any tax consequences for the value of the animals donated to the campaign. That’s all there is to it.”

Barz added that if cattle producers prefer, they can donate calves instead of cows. For those not involved in the cattle business, but would like to support the construction of this center, monetary donations or tax free gifts of grain are also accepted.

For more information, contact Jim Krantz, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist at 605-480-1056. To learn more about Barz and other cattle producers who are contributing to the Send a Cow to College Campaign visit