UVM’s newest research facility, the renovated Miller Farm, broke ground April 14 according to an April 13 UVM communications press release.
The renovations will better equip students for future careers including students in the CREAM program, the press release stated. CREAM, which stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management, is a one-year program that offers students the opportunity to manage farms and animals, according to their UVM website.
About a dozen students, including CREAM teaching assistant, sophomore animal science major Carolyne Ricardo, joined in the ground-breaking ceremony.
“The new facility will allow us to gain the modern knowledge to help us better compete in the industry,” Ricardo said.
“It will also be so exciting to have more cows,” she said. “We will be going from 34 to 56.” The three-phase, $10 million upgrade of the farm is the first in 50 years and will be completed in mid-September, according to the UVM communications website release from February 2015.
“This is a great day for animal and veterinary sciences,” said David Kerr, the interim chair of the department of animal and veterinary sciences.
The renovations will create space to educate students on modern milking techniques, UVM communications stated.
Ricardo said that this project has been long awaited. “CREAM is a self-funded program, so our work with the cows funds the entire program,” she said.
Kerr said that the research barn will enhance the portfolio of research for students.
Sophomore CREAM student, Eleni Casseri said that UVM’s animal science program has been recognized all over the country. Casseri said that the barn has become more than just a tool for education; it is “sanctuary” for many of the students involved in CREAM. “There is nothing like dodging a big slobbery tongue when you go to give a good neck rub,” Casseri said.
DEW Construction will complete the project, according to the DEW Construction Corp website. Don Wells, the president of DEW Construction, said that he is looking to be a part of something that will better “the great state of Vermont.” “The work we do here will affect so many students for many, many years to come,” Wells said.
“It is education and research that produces success,” said Chuck Ross, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. “This farm will be economically viable, environmentally responsible and socially responsible,” he said.
Tom Vogelmann, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said that the grand opening of the research center will be Oct. 2 through Oct. 4, 2015 during Homecoming and Family Weekend.