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University Of Vermont Breaks Ground On Miller Farm Reconstruction

University of Vermont

The formal groundbreaking for the first phase of a major renovation of the University of Vermont’s Miller Farm facilities was held today.

The University of Vermont is located in the middle of Burlington, a centralized urban setting. Yet there’s a working dairy farm housing cows and horses as part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences right on campus.

The groundbreaking Wednesday morning marked the official start of construction for a new $10 million upgrade to the farm including a new teaching and research barn.

Dean Tom Vogelmann explains that the original facilities were built in the 1960's and it was time to rebuild both the physical setting and enhance the college’s Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management - or CREAM - program.  “Our programs in animal science and veterinary science are growing and we’re investing in these programs for the next 50 years. There’s a huge opportunity to do cross-disciplinary research that relates not only to agriculture but groundwater and soils and this whole question about how to make farms more efficient. So the time is really right to invest in new facilities to set the stage for the new exciting research that’s out there and waiting to be done.”

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross says UVM’s renovations represent a significant new commitment to the state’s farm industry.   “We will see as a result of this program advances in things that will help farm viability and the economic base of those farms. Assistance in understanding some of the challenges that we need to do research on that will confront the industry moving forward. And in so doing we will equip the industry to be profitable  going forward.”

Sophomore Carolyne Ricardo is studying Animal and Veterinary Science. She is excited about the investment in the CREAM Program, which she calls the most influential course for her and her peers at the university.   “The investment is pretty great because the herd size will grow so that gives more opportunity for students to understand management on a larger scale compared to most dairies. Universities are meant to be the leaders in efficiency and management and figuring out new ways to help their community. This new barn will do that. It’ll let students learn a larger scale but it’ll also bring new ideas to dairy farmers across the state of Vermont. Which is important because it’s such a large industry here.”

Ricardo is looking forward to working with new state of the art technology.  “Right now working with the animals is great. What’s different about the barn now that will change for the new one is that we are milking with portable milking units. Which is fine for the students. We love it because you get very up and close with the animals. But the new barn will make it quicker and more efficient to milk. It’ll be more comfortable for the animals themselves.  The stalls are going to be bigger and better and the ventilation will be a lot better for the animals.”

The new research facilities at the Miller Farm will focus on disease prevention and treatment and dairy product development.