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Morrisville State College Receives Milk Quality Award

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—Morrisville State College’s milk has been given a thumbs up from Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.

The college’s dairy complex received a 2004-2005 Milk Quality Award for milk produced from June 2004 to June 2005. That means the college produces the highest quality milk on its 900-acre farm.

The award is based on criteria including milk that has low bacteria counts and low somatic cell counts, Mark Smith, dairy farm manager, said.

But there are many other things that factor into the bottom line of producing high quality milk.

“It takes a lot to have the herd produce this quality milk,” Smith said. “This award is shared by a team of people, including faculty and staff who take great pride in their work.”

Students are also an integral part of the operation.

“We have students doing many things at the dairy complex, including milking cows, and they can take pride in sharing this award,” Smith said.

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 approximately 22,000 pounds of milk per year.

Overall, the farm produces more than 5 million pounds or 625,000 gallons of milk per year. What isn’t used on campus is sold through Dairylea Cooperative, Smith said.

In addition to the award, farmers receive a premium for producing a higher than acceptable milk product.

“Quality milk sets a high standard for the entire dairy industry,” Smith said.

This is the second kudos for Morrisville State College’s high-tech dairy complex. The complex was also named a Dairy of Distinction based on its attractive farmsteads and overall farm operation.

The dairy complex includes 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.

It is an enterprise that is teaching Morrisville State College’s dairy program students how large farms operate, providing them with an environment where the latest technology, equipment and methodology are at their fingertips. 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 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.

Morrisville State College offers 12 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine. The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus also offers programs in business, technologies, liberal arts/education transfer, and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers.