UVM breaks ground for dairy farm renovation

University of Vermont to build instructional barn/milking parlor and new research dairy barn.

The University of Vermont (UVM) officially broke ground April 15 on a new instructional barn and milking parlor and a new research barn at the Paul R. Miller Agricultural Research Farm, Phase I of a two-phase, $10 million upgrade of the farm located in Burlington, Vt.

The $2.55 million, 13,176 sq. ft. teaching barn and milking parlor will accommodate an instructional herd of 50 cows and be completed in mid-September. For reasons of student safety, both facilities have safety and fire suppression systems not commonly found in barns, UVM said.

The 8,764 sq. ft., $987,100 research barn will be used by UVM College of Agriculture & Life Sciences faculty and graduate and undergraduate students to conduct short-term, intensive trials on dairy cows related to nutrition, reproduction and animal health. It will also be completed by mid-September.

To make way for the buildings, a little used, open-stall cow barn located at the front of the complex was deconstructed.

The instructional barn and milking parlor will be used by UVM animal science majors for a variety of courses and for hands-on research projects during their junior and senior years.

They will also serve as home base for students in UVM's Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM) program.

The 13-16 students selected each year for the two-semester, eight-credit CREAM program handle all aspects of managing the 50-cow teaching herd, from adjusting feed mixtures to monitoring animal health to handling the business side of the operation. Students also perform all barn chores.

The CREAM program prepares students for a variety of fields, including business management, community development and applied economics, animal science and biology.

Phase II of the project is the renovation of the historic Fitzsimmons Arena at the Miller Farm.

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