The public is invited to help welcome the cows back to campus as the University of Wisconsin-Madison dedicates its refurbished Dairy Cattle Center on Saturday, March 9.
Doors at the facility, at 1815 Linden Dr., will be open to the public from 9-11:30 a.m., with a brief program scheduled for 9:30 a.m. During that time visitors can tour the building and visit with the people who take care of the dairy herd.
Speakers at the dedication program will include Kate VandenBosch, dean of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), dairy science department chair Kent Weigel and representatives of Wisconsin's $26-billion-a-year-dairy industry.
"We're hoping people will stop by and see the barn," says Weigel. "We're pretty proud of what we have here."
The $3.5 million renovation project began in May 2012. Weigel lists improved animal care and comfort among key benefits of the upgrade. Improvements include 84 bigger and more comfortable stalls, water-chilled ventilation, a new public viewing area, more efficient manure-handling system and new silos.
The project received strong industry support, notably from Madison-based BouMatic Inc., which contributed equipment and installation of the milking parlor, as well as donations of stall mats by Promat Inc. and parlor mats by Animat.
The Dairy Cattle Center is used for teaching 15 dairy science and Farm and Industry Short Course classes, hands-on training of new food animal veterinarians, and research projects that require close monitoring by campus-based scientists.
The campus facility is integrated with larger dairy facilities at the university's Arlington and Marshfield Agricultural Research Stations.
"Dairy science is very important to the state and we appreciate the support we've had from the business community," Weigel says. "And having the cows on campus is a great recruiting tool. And that helps support the future of the dairy business here."
In addition to the Dairy Cattle Center dedication, the Badger Dairy Club will host its 16th Badger Invitational Sale, a club fundraising event, beginning at noon in the nearby Stock Pavilion, 1675 Linden Dr.
For more information about the Badger Invitational visit: http://www.badger dairyclub.com/.