Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center
This NHAES/COLSA facility is representative of a typical New England Dairy operation, thereby developing new knowledge and management expertise geared directly to many state and regional stakeholders. It houses about 90 milking-age cows and approximately 70 growing, replacement animals. Included in that number is the 20-cow, student-managed CREAM herd (CREAM is the acronym for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management), with the remaining animals devoted primarily to research in the area of dairy nutrition and reproductive biology. The facility provides an experiential learning experience for students; during the academic year there are typically about 40 students working part-time at the farm at any given time, either as hourly employees or as participants in the CREAM program. In addition to its primary research focus, the farm receives large numbers of visitors and hosts a number of public programs each year (e.g., School to Farm Days). Milk production currently averages about 26,000 to 27,000 pounds per cow per year for the CREAM and research herds.
The Fairchild Dairy has been long recognized for its quality milk and operations. In 2014, 2013 and 2012, the farm received the Gold Quality Award from the Dairy Farmers of America. Also in 2014, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recognized the dairy as a New Hampshire Quality Milk Producer. In 2013, the farm received a Quality Milk Award from Dairy One for consistently producing high quality milk with a low somatic cell count. In 1997 and 2004, Dairy One also recognized the CREAM herd having the highest quality milk from among approximately 3,100 dairy herds on the official Northeast Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) test. In 1999, the farm was cited as a Dairy of Distinction by the Milk Sanitation Board, which in 2000 awarded it a Certificate of Quality.
The Keener Dairy Research Building, which honors Harry Keener, former long-time director of NHAES and dean of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, sits adjacent to the Fairchild Dairy Center and houses multiple laboratories, offices, and research support areas for associated faculty, staff, and graduate students.
A portion of the NHAES forage production area adjacent to the Fairchild Dairy hosts the COLSA Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program’s high tunnel greenhouses and the UNH Organic Garden Club (OGC). Students in the experiential SAFS program are involved in all aspects of a food production partnership, which enables them to gain hands-on experience in growing and providing produce to the Dairy Bar Restaurant. Students associated with the OGC work with COLSA/NHAES, the Office of Sustainability Programs, and other campus entities to learn and practice effective organic gardening methods, and sell or give away to local causes a portion of their produce.
Visiting the Dairy
The Fairchild Dairy is open to the public 7 days a week 8-6 and milk at 3:30 p.m., which visitors can observe.