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Plans unveiled for Dairy Learning Center

September 28, 2006

UW-River Falls’ new Dairy Learning Center is projected to be finished by fall 2008, but may be completed a year earlier.

The Dairy Learning Center is a set of buildings run by the University to better enhance the education of its dairy science majors. The Center will hold 100 adult cows, compared to 70 housed now. The new facility will be built on the land east of Lab Farm 2, which is located about two miles north of River Falls.

The farm is being built for the benefit of students.
“It will show students the modern facilities and methods we have not been able to show with our facilities now,” Professor of Animal Science Larry Baumann said.

The University’s current dairy facilities are outdated.
“They are so outdated, antiquated and crowded,” Baumann said, adding that dairy farms generally change about every 10 to 20 years. “The facility we have now has been there since 1956 or 1957.”

The new facility will have 10 buildings in all. As for the old buildings, some will be used to store hay and others will be torn down.

“It’s like an old car,” Baumann said. “After 250,000 miles, you need a new one.”

The money for the new center is not coming out of students’ pockets. The buildings are being funded by the state commissioning board.

“The facilities that are being built are going to be open to the public, so anyone that wants to come in and look around will be able to do so,” said CAFES Associate Dean Bob Baker.

There are approximately 110 Dairy Science majors, along with another 350 animal science majors, at UW-RF.

“We want our students to have the best possible learning experience, which is why we are building the new Dairy Learning Center,” Baker said.

There will be state-of-the-art equipment and classrooms in the facility.

“I went to a commercial farm and videotaped something and brought it back to the classroom,” Baumann said.

The University’s current dairy facility is inadequate in size and technology for proper student education, and the Dairy Learning Center was planned to resolve those issues.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Oct. 20, though the time has not yet been decided.

“I am glad that it is being started. It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to begin this process,” said senior dairy science major Dan Lauderdale. “It is going to be a great learning tool for all students.”