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UC-Davis expands dairy goat program

TAGS: Dairy News
Hector Amezcua/UC Davis UC Davis goat creamery.jpg
Goats butt their way through the ceremonial ribbon, led by two students, Teresa Greenhut and Craig Miramontes. Also pictured, from left: Anita Oberbauer, professor and assistant dean for agricultural sciences; dean Helene Dillard; Dan Sehnert, animal science facilities coordinator; Benjamin Rupchis, goat facility manager, and Jim Murray, professor and chair of the department of animal science.
New facility includes goat milking parlor, milk room, clean room, aged cheese room and packing room.

The University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) formally opened Jan. 25 the UC-Davis Noel-Nordfelt Animal Science Goat Dairy & Creamery, which will help students model common animal husbandry issues facing production goat dairies and provide a space where students, staff, faculty and industry stakeholders can process milk and make cheese on state-of-the-art equipment.

“We’re really excited to see this come to fruition,” said Anita Oberbauer, UC-Davis animal science professor and associate dean of agricultural sciences. “At this new facility, we will be able to produce, market and sell Grade A goat cheese while providing hands-on learning for students.”

Located off Old Davis Rd., the 2,420 sq. ft. Noel-Nordfelt Animal Science Goat Dairy & Creamery includes a milking parlor, milk room, clean room, aged cheese room and packing room.

The cheese produced there will eventually be sold at the UC-Davis Meat Lab and used in some campus eateries, said Benjamin Rupchis, manager of the Goat Teaching & Research Facility.

“Small-scale homestead cheesemakers will have new opportunities to hone their craft on campus,” Oberbauer said.

Each year, about 1,000 students study goats in their courses at UC-Davis. The herd size fluctuates between 65 and 125 Alpines, Saanens, LaManchas and Recorded Grades goats, all registered through the American Dairy Goat Assn. and housed in pens surrounding the main barn, UC-Davis said.

The university’s herd of dairy goats is just one of three groups kept at the Goat Teaching & Research Facility; meat and transgenic research goats are also raised there. The transgenic research goats are genetically engineered dairy goats that produce higher levels of an enzyme naturally found in human breast milk, with the hope to eventually use goat milk to help protect children in developing countries from the harmful effects of diarrhea. Their milk is solely used for research and is not consumed.

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