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Morrisville State College Dairy Complex named Dairy of Distinction

MORRISVILLE, NY – July 15, 2005 - A colorful sign will soon embellish the entrance leading to the Morrisville State College Dairy Complex on Eaton Street.

The coveted red and yellow sign, placed in front of the area’s best-kept dairy farms, distinguishes the college as a Dairy of Distinction, a prestigious award recently bestowed by the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program (NEDFBP).

The award recognizes the hard work and dedication of dairy farmers and others involved with maintaining attractive, well-kept farmsteads, Mark Smith, Morrisville State College dairy farm manager, said.

Winners are selected from farms that apply and are scored based on criteria that includes the condition of buildings, grounds and surroundings, and overall farm operation, Smith said. Cleanliness of animals, the barn yard, feed areas and manure management are taken into consideration in the overall farm operation.

The award is based on the concept that attractive farmsteads will enhance consumer confidence in the wholesomeness of milk, stimulate milk sales, and encourage public support for the industry, Smith said.

Morrisville’s high-tech dairy complex, which sits high on a hill overlooking the rest of the campus, is characterized by well-kept facilities that complement acres of neatly groomed lawn.

Facilities include a freestall barn with an electronically enhanced milking parlor and classrooms connected to dairy cattle management software, two technologically advanced freestall heifer barns, and a calf barn.

The college maintains a herd of 405 dairy cows; 242 are milking cows, and the other 163 are calves ranging in age from newborn to bred heifers that have not calved or milked yet and are under 24 months old, Smith said. Each milking cow averages 22,000 pounds of milk per year, some which is used on campus.

At the hub of the complex is an energetic group of people including dairy faculty, staff and students, responsible for its overall operation, and employees of the college’s Physical Plant Department who assist with maintaining buildings and lawns.

“This award is shared by a team of people who take great pride in their work,” Smith said. “The end result is a farm that is aesthetically pleasing, well run, and creates a positive image for the dairy industry.”

Behind the scenes, the high-tech dairy complex is an enterprise that is teaching Morrisville State College’s dairy program students how large farms operate.

It’s an environment where the latest technology, equipment and methodology are at students’ fingertips and they are gaining experience in real-world situations learning both technical and entrepreneurial aspects of the dairy industry.

Dairy operations, for example, include heavy student involvement. During the semester, students do much of the computerized record keeping, milking, production monitoring, heat detection for breeding purposes, both from observation and by computer, and looking after special-needs animals. Their learning experience is enhanced by the use of laptop computers.

The result is well-trained graduates who have experience in freestall facility management as well as business management and hands-on experience in the management of freestall operations.

“Our students are filling the need for qualified people trained in managing dairy farms and related businesses,” Smith said.

The college currently has two dairy programs, an associate degree in animal science - dairy and a bachelor degree in dairy management.

The animal science - dairy program concentrates on dairy cattle management emphasizing both managerial and hands-on experience. The program prepares students for careers as dairy farmers or managers and careers in sales and service of dairy equipment and supplies.

The dairy management program provides advanced course work in dairy production and dairy business management and
prepares students for careers as middle managers and owner-operators of profitable dairy farm businesses.