Advanced Dairy Management

The Miner Institute Dairy Scholar Program is an applied series of courses in dairy farm management that includes general farm management; animal, feed and waste facility design and management; feeding and breeding management; milk quality; use of on-farm records and business management. A strong emphasis is also placed on field crop production including crop fertilization, nutrient management, crop variety selection, crop rotations, and field equipment selection and maintenance. Dairy cattle nutrition is explored with a focus on assessment of forage quality and utilization, feed management, ration formulation, and nutritional physiology. A research experience is incorporated into the program and offers students the opportunity to explore different types of agricultural research, data collection and summarization and working with a mentor to develop a research question that is aimed at answering an on-farm problem. Significant time will be spent preparing and presenting weekly seminars on a variety of industry and research topics related to the dairy industry.

The program is divided into five courses. The Dairy Cattle Nutrition class is offered by Heather Dann with additional lectures by Rick Grant. Students learn about forage quality and storage in addition to rumen physiology and metabolism. The class is a combination of lectures and labs which include the Dairy Barn and forage storage areas. Topics covered in this class include CAFO planning, forage production, nutrient management, and crop variety selection. The students present weekly agriculture seminars on a variety of topics and are aided by a variety of resources to develop these presentations which are designed to enhance their speaking skills and address areas of interest which may not be covered in class otherwise. For the Dairy Management Practicum portion of the program, students have weekly work experience in the Dairy Barn. Additionally students visit area farms and evaluate those farm systems and prepare presentations as if they were consultants for those farms. Students also participate in a variety of seminars at Miner Institute and other places. These field trips away from Miner Institute are important in that some of the highest impact learning comes through the exposure to a bigger, broader view of dairy farming. Participation in an agricultural research experience allows students the opportunity to be involved in developing a research proposal with guidance and supervision from a faculty advisor. The student will determine the appropriate experimental design and methodology needed to address their study objectives. Students will also take part in a series of hands-on research modules where they will learn to collect a variety of types of data, summarize it, and present their results.

Students embrace the low student-to-staff ratio that this program offers with easy access to many highly qualified experts. Our purpose in this program is to prepare the next generation of farm managers and industry professionals. Our product is individuals who are well grounded in animal science, business and communications and who are first and foremost, mature, critical thinkers committed to life-long learning to achieve their personal goals.

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