About Cattle Pen Designs

Mark Deesing
Cattle Pen Designer and Consultant

mark deesing

Mark Deesing began his career in the livestock industry as a farrier and horse trainer. In 1993 he met Temple Grandin. They first began to work together in research and writing projects. They co-authored three books together; “Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals” 1st, 2nd Editions (Academic Press, 1998/ Elsevier 2014, 2021), and “Humane Livestock Handling” ( Storey Publishing, 2008). Mark and Dr. Grandin pioneered work using facial hair patterns to predict temperament and fertility in cattle, and published several referred journal articles on their findings.

In 2000, Dr. Grandin began to teach Mark cattle handling design principles. This was the beginning of a 20 year career designing facilities. As a design consultant for Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, Inc., Mark designed hundreds of handling facilities for all types of livestock, as well as wildlife and zoo species. He’s travelled around the country and the world visiting ranches, feed yards, and packing plants consulting on design of new facilities, troubleshooting problems in existing facilities, and working with producers on improvements in handling practices and cattle welfare. In 2020, Mark retired from Grandin Livestock and began private consulting as Farm Designs, Inc. He does his design and drafting work in Northern Colorado, and continues to stay active in the horse industry. 

Worked as a custom cattle pen designer for Temple Grandin’s company Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, Inc., for over 20 years. Pioneered  research in cattle and horse behavior during that time, published scientific journal articles and 2 books; “Humane Livestock Handling” and “Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals” (1st & 2nd Editions). Experienced in animal welfare auditing and monitoring programs.

National & International Experience

  • Designed and consulted on designs for several high speed slaughter plants ranging in size from 100 cattle per hour up to 240 cattle per hour. Experience with the layout of Dr. Grandin’s Center Track Restrainer, a high speed system used in some large plants in the U.S., one in Mexico, one in Argentina.
  • Designed small to medium sized slaughter plants in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Turkey, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Indonesia, and China. This includes locker sized plants processing 5 cattle per day, to medium sized plants processing up to 500 cattle per day.
  • Designed handling facilities for large and small cattle feed yards throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia. Some of these designs included complete layouts for feeding pens, shipping/receiving, treatment areas for sick cattle, and processing areas for vaccinations and other husbandry procedures. Some of the larger processing facilities were designed to handle over 1000 cattle per day for vaccinations and other husbandry procedures. Mark designed the first ever large scale modern cattle feed yard in China with a capacity of 60,000 cattle.
  • Designed large and small facilities for ranches around the world. Some large and small Cow-Calf operations including complete breeding facilities for AI, and Embryo Transfer.
  • Designed large and small hog slaughter operations throughout the U.S. and the European Union. Some of this work included facility design recommendations for existing facilities to improve hog welfare.
  • Consulted on animal welfare and auditing programs for cattle slaughter in the U.S., Indonesia, China, and Mexico. These programs were developed using the “American Meat Institutes (AMI) Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare”, authored by Dr. Temple Grandin.
  • Mark’s experience also includes facilities design and consulting for halal and Kosher slaughter in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. * No job is too big, or too small.


  • Complete Design and Drafting Service Design & Drafting of facilities including detail drawings for gates, hinges, latches, crowd pens, fencing, steel & concrete specifications.
  • On-Site Custom Facilities Design, Drafting, and Consultation
  • Mark travels to ranches, feed yards, packing plants, & wildlife handling facilities to help owners and managers decide on facility needs & layouts.
  • On-Site Troubleshooting of Existing Facilities Travel and inspect existing facilities and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Internet and Phone Consultation Service Review drawing plans and make recommendations.