LINCOLN, NEB. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is nearing completion of its Klosterman Feedlot Innovation Center (KFIC), which the university described as the only commercial-scale feedlot research center in the world. The facility is scheduled to open this summer at UNL’s Eastern Nebraska Research, Education and Extension Center near Mead, Neb.

UNL broke ground on the $7.4 million project in November 2022. The KFIC will feature open-air and covered pens, a 240-head feeding facility, plus the cattle-handling facility with an enclosed classroom. The processing barn will include two separate, side-by-side alleyways and chute systems with an elevated classroom so observers can watch the animals being processed without interfering with the systems.

The KFIC is funded in part by donations from the cattle industry, including John and Beth Klosterman; JBS USA; Greater Omaha Packing; Farm Credit Services of America; Dennis and Glenda Boesiger; and the Klopfenstein Fund, which includes gifts from a number of UNL alumni, colleagues and industry partners who knew and worked with Terry Klopfenstein.

One of the objectives at the KFIC is to develop training resources for cattle industry employees, creating guidelines and best practices for low-stress cattle handling and worker safety.

“There’s so much we anticipate learning and much we don’t know,” said Ruth Woiwode,PhD, assistant professor of animal behavior and well-being at UNL. “For as long as we’ve handled cattle in this environment, there’s a surprisingly small body of research that looks at behavior and handling related specifically to facilities.”

One system Woiwode is particularly interested in learning more about is the Arrowquip system, which is a Budflow design based on a “Bud box.” The system uses the tendency of cattle to want to return to the last place they were, to reduce the stress of sending them through an unfamiliar facility.

Arrowquip, a North American cattle handling equipment manufacturer, donated a 3E BudFlow Cattle Tub, The General Hydraulic Chute and Easy Flow Adjustable Cattle Alley to the center to support its research efforts.

“I’m most excited about having two systems side-by-side and essentially compiling a longitudinal database to make recommendations to the industry, so they can make design changes based on perhaps the number of employees or types of animals they’re processing,” Woiwode said.