September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
U of M vet students will gain experience in new 4,000 animal dairy facility
On Sept. 17, Davis Family Dairies, LLC. and the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine announced an affiliation to design, construct and operate a commercial, educational, and demonstration dairy facility in New Sweden Township in Nicollet County, Minn.
This new state-of-the-art dairy facility will bring together educational, research and commercial dairy practitioners to improve management practices and dairy husbandry, teach veterinary medicine, research emerging products and serve as a center for continuing education. The facility will also offer the unique opportunity to integrate various academic and educational functions into the commercial environment that will exist at the site.
"The Davis family and everyone associated with Davis Family Dairies are excited and flattered by the opportunity to work with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine to help further the experience and knowledge base of the dairy industry in Minnesota and across the United States," Mark Davis, CEO of Davis Family Dairies, LLC stated in a press release. "This partnership will help improve dairy practices and products from the farm to fork by connecting our commercial dairy production and processing businesses with the College of Veterinary Medicine's research and teaching expertise."
The new dairy facility will house more than 4,000 animals and employ in excess of 40 people. It will serve as a birthing site for more than 6,000 calves per year, milk 3,000 cows on site, and provide management support to another 3,000 cows at the existing Northern Plains Dairy, LLP. It will also include dormitory facilities, classrooms and teaching laboratories.
The project will cost in excess of $15 million, and will purchase more than $200,000 in feed each month from local farmers and sell nutrients for fertilizing more than 2,000 acres each year to local farmers as well. Davis Family Dairies will fund and own the facilities while the College of Veterinary Medicine will contribute toward the components of the facility specific to academic functions.
Davis Family Dairies General Manager Mitch Davis said the affiliation would be beneficial for both of the organizations involved.
"Each student will have a two-week rotation at the dairy, like a residency for a doctor," he said. "Here they will be exposed to actual cows going through the routine parts of their lives and they will be able to see and do things that are difficult to do on college campus - like a C-section or a DA.
"The affiliation is in our interest because we get the first look at new technology on the research side; we benefit from the expertise that comes from teaching the staff; and promoting the dairy industry. Our mission as a company is to have more dairy farms and more milk produced in Minnesota."
Davis said he expects the bulk of the construction to take place during late spring of next year. Students will be able to begin utilizing the facility over the summer and then it will "kick into full gear" in the fall or winter of next year.
"The College of Veterinary Medicine is thrilled by this partnership with Davis Family Dairies, LLC. Our students and faculty will both benefit greatly from the opportunity to learn and teach in a large, well-run Minnesota dairy. We are convinced that the quality of our graduates will be significantly enhanced by our relationship with Davis Family Dairies," stated Trevor R. Ames, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine in a press release.
Davis Family Dairies, LLC is owned and operated by the Davis Family whose other businesses include Davisco Foods International and Cambria Natural Quartz Surfaces, both headquartered in Le Sueur, Minn. Davis Family Dairies was started in 2000 and includes Northern Plains Dairy, a partnership with the Dave Mogensen family. Stanley Davis in St. Peter, Minnesota started what is now Davisco Foods in 1943, and the Davis family started Cambria in 2002.
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