Dairy Teaching Center

March 6, 1998

New Dairy Teaching Center Planned for UW-River Falls

by Alan Kelly
UW-RF News Bureau

A new Dairy Teaching Center is about to become a reality at UW-River Falls.

The facility will provide a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory for students, dairy industry personnel and dairy farm employees. As a replacement for facilities built in the 1950s, the new center will meet the needs of the dairy teaching program at UW-RF in the year 2000 and beyond. In addition to UW-RF students, dairy industry personnel and dairy farm employees will utilize the teaching laboratory.

"This is an exciting project," says Gary Rohde, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. "The Dairy Teaching Center will not only meet the educational needs of UW-RF, but it will enrich the already strong partnership between UW-RF and the dairy industry."

It is because of this partnership that Rohde says with conviction that it is in the dairy industry's best interest to support the Dairy Teaching Center financially. In return, UW-RF will work with representatives from the dairy industry to help accommodate the specific needs of regional dairy businesses.

The preliminary cost for the new Dairy Teaching Center is $2.8 million. This facility will be built on a cost-share basis with a portion of the funds coming from private donations and contributions. The State Building Commission has authorized up to $80,000 to plan the new center. The remaining $2.7 million is expected to be authorized by the State Building Commission as part of the 1999-2001 biennial capital budget, says Rohde.

UW-RF will be obligated to raise 10 percent of the cost-about $400,000-from private sources. Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 1999 with completion planned in the year 2000.

The new facility will be located on the University-owned Mann Valley Farm. It will include a milking center with a parallel parlor and rapid exit stalls, a modern free stall barn for the milking herd and heifers, a warm stall barn wing for maternity stalls, animal treatment and research trials, bunker silos, hay shed, and commodity bins for feed storage, new technology for a nutrient management system, a teaching classroom and laboratory facility, and a pavilion/arena for shows and contests.

UW-RF plans for this modern dairy teaching center to provide the facilities necessary to properly train individuals for employment in a rapidly changing industry well into the 21st century.

UW-RF has 120-130 dairy students per year. These students are the future employees of the dairy industry.

"The dairy industry," according to Rohde, "cannot help but benefit from employees who have received the best possible dairy science education an institution can give. Most of these students are from the Upper Midwest and traditionally graduate and work in the dairy industry in the region."

Rohde stresses that the college has a national reputation for excellence in teaching undergraduates, where students are allowed to meet their specific goals by choosing an option in business, production or science. Some students arrive on campus with no practical experience in dairy cattle, and a goal is to quickly and properly educate them for employment in a rapidly changing industry.

The use of the Dairy Teaching Center that Rohde lists support his assertion. The center, according to Rohde, will be used for training programs for dairy farm employees, education workshops for industry personnel, regional dairy judging contests for high school students, applied research projects, extension out-reach activities and field days, livestock and dairy cattle sales, dairy-related educational activities for grade school children, farm tours for the public, foreign visitors and special interest groups.

The mutually beneficial partnership between the dairy industry and dairy science education is one reason why UW-RF is looking to the dairy industry for a substantial portion of the $400,000 that must be raised.

Any industry representative, or other individual or business wishing to contribute to the center, or needing further information, may contact Rohde or Professor Larry Baumann at the UW-RF College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, 410 S. Third St., River Falls, Wis. 54022-5001 or by phone at 715/425-3841 or 3187.

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