The Kellogg Dairy Center (KDC) was selected as the 2023 Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farm for New England Green Pastures, an annual competition that recognizes farms and agriculture leaders.
The KDC will be honored at a reception and dinner today at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Beginning in 1947, the New England Green Pastures Program began as a challenge issued by the then-governor of New Hampshire, Gov. Charles Dale, for New England farmers to improve their pastures with the help of Extension and other state agencies. The Outstanding Dairy Farm Award is facilitated by UConn Extension and the Green Pastures committee each year, with past winners serving on the committee.
As the dairy industry in New England has evolved over the years, so have the objectives of the program. Now, it honors an outstanding dairy farm from each of the six New England states for overall farm management and operation every year. The honor also considers farms’ contributions to the state and regional agricultural community.
“We are grateful to be recognized amongst a group of Connecticut’s finest dairy farms,” says CAHNR Dean and Director Indrajeet Chaubey. “Our herd is a point of pride for our College, our University, and our state. From delicious cheese and ice cream to experiential learning opportunities and innovative research, the KDC and staff who support it set UConn apart.”
UConn’s Kellogg Dairy Center is part of the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. It is home to UConn’s award-winning dairy cattle and a nationally recognized university dairy program. The UConn herd is a top 10 production herd in the U.S. for their size. The KDC houses 100 milking cows in its free-stall facility. The facility includes a classroom, office, viewing rooms, surgical unit, and two student dorm rooms.
In 2018, UConn became the first university in the country to install a Voluntary Milking Systems (VMS, or robotic milking systems). The KDC added robotic feeders at the same time. Each cow wears a transponder that collects data that is shared with DeLaval, a company that produces farming and milking equipment, to help other dairy farms worldwide manage their data and economic viability.
The KDC has received numerous accolades over the years. UConn has received the Hoard’s Dairyman National Dairy Quality Gold Award in 2017 for being one of the best dairy farms in the country, out of over 47,000. UConn is also a perennial winner for quality milk from Agri-Mark/Cabot, the milk cooperative that UConn works with. The Holstein Association has recognized the herd for the last 18 years with their Progressive Breeder Award.
The high-quality milk from the KDC herd is the basis of the ice cream and cheese sold at the UConn Dairy Bar, which also wins regional and national awards.
“Cow comfort is the number one priority,” says Mary-Margaret Smith, executive director for UConn Livestock Units, including the Kellogg Dairy Center. “It has to be. And for them to make as much milk as possible but be healthy while doing so. The cleanliness of the milking system is also paramount. We’re thrilled to be recognized for our efforts and commitment to quality of care.”
The New England Green Pastures program continues to emphasize the importance of having a viable dairy industry in New England.
This work relates to CAHNR’s Strategic Vision area focused on Ensuring a Vibrant and Sustainable Agricultural Industry and Food Supply.
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