Farm Progress

Supporters are working to secure private funds totaling $15 million for the $28.6 million facility.

Paula Mohr, Editor, The Farmer

December 12, 2016

1 Min Read
THE LATEST: The Minnesota dairy industry, along with stakeholders, are working toward building a 240-cow freestall barn, complete with four robotic milkers, on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul.

The proposed dairy research facility to be built on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota is still on track and under discussion for private and public funding, according to a recent Minnesota Milk Producers Association newsletter.

Since completion of the feasibility report and cost analysis last fall, the U-M College of Agriculture development team, along with Dairy Authority Board members and consultant-lobbyist Daryn McBeth, have been explaining the proposed facility to legislators (for eventual general obligation bond funding) and to private industry partners (for gift donations to the University of Minnesota Foundation).

The private gift commitment goal is steep — $9 million in construction costs and $6 million in operating costs — but is necessary to leverage eventual state resources through the capital bonding process and the University of Minnesota’s capital facilities management division, according to MMPA.

A fundraising team also has been meeting with potential industry partners to explain the benefits of the facility to the state’s dairy industry, and current and future dairy farmers. The team is being led by Brian Buhr, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Sciences; and McBeth, with support from Minnesota dairy farmers.

The proposed freestall facility, complete with four robotic milkers, will be built for 240 milk cows and will be south of the equine center on the St. Paul campus. The facility will have the latest technology —electronic monitoring of feed intakes, gating, radio frequency identification tags, camera monitoring, efficient lighting, etc. It will also have underground manure tanks, feed storage and mixing areas, and separate entrances for staff and visitors. In a February 2016 report, the facility was estimated to cost $28.6 million.

 

About the Author(s)

Paula Mohr

Editor, The Farmer

Mohr is former editor of The Farmer.

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