Report finds need for a new dairy teaching facility

ST. PAUL — A group of stakeholders convened at the Legislature’s request last year have come back with a recommendation that the state invest $300,000 to $500,000 this session in bonding funds for a Dairy Research, Consumer Outreach and Education Facility.

Curt Zimmerman, livestock development supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, presented summary findings at the Feb. 15 Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance Committee hearing. It was the first date the report was available, Zimmerman said.

A public-private operating model has been proposed. The size of the operation hasn’t been determined, but it will need to balance the needs of all dairy operations, the report says.

Minnesota now has a 90 cow tie-stall barn with a parlor at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul and a certified organic dairy with a grass-based herd at West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. There is a calf raising facility at Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca and a Dairy Veterinary Education facility, which is a public-private partnership.

"With a Dairy Research, Education and Consumer facility and a Dairy Veterinary Teaching facility, Minnesota would be the premier place to come for dairy education and research," the report reads. "No other state could compete with the research potential and educational opportunities offered in Minnesota."

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