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Dairy Learning Center Opens to Fanfare Dairy Learning Center Opens to Fanfare

By Melissa Klein
UWRF University Communications [photos]

OCT. 26, 2007--After 15 years of planning, the $9.3 million Dairy Learning Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is complete. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in October at the Mann Lab Farm to celebrate the event.

Speakers included Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dale Gallenberg, Chancellor Don Betz, University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Jesus Salas, University of Wisconsin System Administration David Miller, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board representative Matt Joyce, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and dairy science student Drew Johnson.

The new Dairy Learning Center replaces the existing dairy facility that has been operating on the campus lab farm since 1957. This new Dairy Learning Center will offer even greater educational opportunities to UWRF students as well as those in the agricultural industries. As a living laboratory, it contains all elements needed to run a commercial dairy operation, plus technology enhanced classrooms and other educational facilities.

Dean Gallenberg described the center as "emblematic" and is illustrative of where the university has been, where it is today and what the center will mean for the future. It also shows the continued commitment to the students and agriculture, he said.  

Sen. Harsdorf explained the dairy learning center provides the opportunity for the community to become educated about agriculture. "It provides a unique opportunity to show how agriculture can interface with a residential community," said Harsdorf. "It will show the thriving agricultural industry and the contributions it makes to the economy and everyone's lives."

Milk board representative Joyce said the dairy industry in Wisconsin contributes 20.6 billion every year to economic activity. "Wisconsin is fortunate to celebrate a project like this and to witness the strong commitment UWRF has to enhance education," he said. "With educational opportunities such as this, we will continue to remain American's Dairyland,"

Many students were present at the ceremony to see their new study facilities. Johnson, a senior from Cashton, Wis., explained to the audience that the dairy learning center will add to the opportunities UWRF offers to students. This also prepares students to be a part of the next generation of the dairy industry.

The Dairy Learning Center will utilize an environmentally friendly composted bedding housing system for 100 milking cows plus calves and heifers and is designed to provide a comfortable environment for the cows. After removal from the cattle barns, the bedding material will be placed into windrows and the composting process will continue.

The final compost product will be available for purchase by the public for use in gardens and landscaping, and the farm will also apply the compost as fertilizer on the fields. Many other features of the facility have been developed to showcase positive interactions within a rural-urban interface, including systems to minimize wastewater in which water to cool the milk will be reused for the livestock, and equipment wash water will be reused to wash floors and in some cases for irrigation.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:36 Central Daylight Time


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