One minute with Cleo Garcia, bison herdsman

How long have you worked at Fermilab?

A little over 14 years.

What brought you to Fermilab?

I used to work doing janitorial service, and I was looking for a better job. When I started working here, I helped the herdsman here at the time. I have a little background in cattle; I helped my uncle down in Mexico. So it’s almost the same. Then the herdsman left, and because I worked with him, they put me in charge of the animals. That was in 2010.

“I sometimes help with tours, and when you see the excitement of people looking at the calves, it makes you proud of what you’re doing.”

What’s a normal day like for you?

The first thing I do is come check on the animals, especially now in the calving season. Then I check fences or mow the grass or do some other Roads and Grounds chores. We try to let the bison roam freely by themselves within the pastures. It’s only in the winter when we supplement their diet with hay and grain. Otherwise we let them graze on their own.

What are the trickiest parts of the job?

There’s a day in the fall when we do vaccinations, and everybody helps out. We have to corral them, put them through a squeeze chute one by one, and tag the new ones or vaccinate the cows. You have to be really careful.

Click here to read Cleo Garcia’s full interview.