Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Mission-driven ... from milking to management

Every student at the College of Veterinary Medicine will complete at least one two-week rotation that will find them working hands-on with the cows and calfs in the Teaching Dairy Barn, which will be operated just as a typical working dairy farm in New York State would. Students will be involved in all aspects of production management and herd health, including decisions about issues like the following:

  • Nutrition
  • Bedding
  • Breeding
  • Overall welfare

In addition, for the first time, Cornell students will gain primary experience with calf rearing, as 30 calf hutches will be located directly behind the Teaching Dairy Barn on a gravel base. Students will assist as needed with calving, raising newborns through about four months.

The students will also help manage the business, giving them valuable experience with -- and a deeper understanding of -- the economics of dairy farming.

The facility will also support the College's outreach mission. Built with a classroom and observation window above the milking parlor, the Teaching Dairy Barn will be well-suited to hosting a variety of community groups who are interested in seeing how a typical dairy barn operates, including the milking process in a fully operational environment.

"We hope that the opportunity to observe what happens in a dairy barn will illustrate the path that milk takes on its way to the grocery store," said Dr. Alfonso Torres, associate dean of public policy at the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Dairy production is an important part of New York's economy. Cornell is committed to preparing future dairy farmers who are committed to providing the public with safe, high-quality milk and dairy products. This commitment to quality means taking good care of cows and the land. The observation area will provide people with the ability to see what this looks like."