UMaine hosts dairy travel course for six universities

Animal and veterinary science students from six universities toured Maine’s dairy industry this month in a travel course hosted by the University of Maine. 

More than 40 students and their advisors from universities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont joined the statewide tour. Five students from the University of Maine participated as well.

The travel course included visits to the University of New Hampshire’s dairy, and farms and facilities in Cornish, Canton, Farmington, Clinton, Exeter, Lamoine, New Gloucester, and St. Albans. The students also toured UMaine’s dairy at the J. Franklin Witter Teaching and Research Center in Old Town, as well as Pineland Farms Dairy Company in Bangor and IDEXX Laboratories Inc. in Westbrook.

The tour included the Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center on Jan. 12. There, the students met with leaders in Maine’s agriculture and dairy sectors including the Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, the Maine State Veterinarian and the Executive Directors of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board, Dairy Nutrition Council and Maine Milk Commission.

“The diversity of dairy farms in Maine provides a great learning experience for students,” said David Marcinkowski, a UMaine animal and veterinary science associate professor in the School of Food and Agriculture and Cooperative Extension dairy specialist. “The students will see large, small, organic, conventional, purebred, cow, goat and value-added farms. Most importantly, they will see the range of careers the dairy industry offers.”

The New England Dairy Travel Course, now in its 22nd year, is a collaboration of the six land grant universities in New England that rotate hosting a tour of their respective state’s dairy industries each year. The model is unique in the nation. The course is made possible by support from participating universities and an Ag Enhancement Grant from Farm Credit East.