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Campus Farm silos demolished to make room for the future

November 14, 2014

The silos at the UW-River Falls Campus Farm and Mann Valley Farm have been demolished to make room for the changes that will happen on both lab farms over the next 25 years.

Plans to renovate the farms were first made in the spring of 2013. Dean Olson, associate dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), said the silos needed to go because they were dated and haven’t been used in years. The silos on the campus farm were previously used to store feed for animals on the farm. Olson said that some agricultural methods have changed over time and people are now using long plastic bags to hold feed instead.

“It’s a safer and less expensive alternative to storing animal feed,” Olson said.

Olson said by removing the silos at the Campus Farm, there will be more space for equine operation and room to expand student and staff parking areas.

According to the master plan, there will be renovations done to the older buildings on the farms. Olson said some of the buildings are 30 or 40 years old and need to be updated to keep up with the changes in the farming industry.

“We want to make the farms more functional for students and farm staff,” Olson said.

Bill Connolly, director of the lab farms, said there are roughly 76 horses on the Campus Farm, which is used for the equine program. The Campus Farm is also where the annual rodeo is held.

The master plan lists the changes that will be done at the Campus Farm. Some changes include constructing a new hay bedding and manure storage facility, expanding the indoor riding arena, and renovating the existing classroom and pavilion that will be more welcoming to visitors.

The Mann Valley Farm, the larger of the two lab farms, is where the Dairy Learning Center is located. The Mann Valley Farm is also where beef, dairy, sheep and swine operations occur.

“The Mann Valley Farm is more of a traditional, northern Midwest dairy livestock operation,” Connolly said. According to the master plan, the priorities for changes at the Mann Valley Farm include replacing the existing swine facility, renovating the beef facility, constructing a new poultry facility, and constructing a larger pavilion with classrooms and animal handling facilities.

Renovating the current buildings is necessary to make sure the students can get the experience they need to keep up with agricultural changes over time. Connolly said getting handson experience on the farms is important for students.

“If they really want to work on our farms, we’re going to find a way to get them out there and get them experienced,” Connolly said. “I really feel strongly about that.”