UC Davis breaks ground on new dairy goat parlor and creamery

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences broke ground October 15 on a new dairy goat parlor and creamery just south of campus near the existing Dairy Goat Teaching and Research Facility off Old Davis Road.

The 2,420 square-foot Noel-Nordfelt Animal Science Goat Dairy and Creamery will provide a California Department of Food and Agriculture inspected and approved facility for students, staff, faculty and industry stakeholders to process fluid milk and make cheese with state-of-the-art equipment. The project should take about eight months to complete.

The new building will include a milking parlor, milk room, clean room, aged cheese room and packing room. The facility creates the ability to produce, market, and sell Grade A goat cheese while providing hands-on learning for animal science, food science and animal science and management majors. 

“We’re really excited to see this come to fruition,” said Professor Anita Oberbauer, CA&ES associate dean for agricultural sciences. “It offers a linkage between the production side and the food side.”

Animal scientist Oberbauer, who has long-supported the new facility, noted that goats have been part of UC Davis teaching, research and outreach for more than 100 years. This new addition will help students model common animal husbandry issues facing production goat dairies. Cheese production creates educational and research opportunities for both the manufacture and marketing of sustainably produced and healthful goat cheese. It will also provide opportunities for industry partnerships.

“Students and faculty in animal science and food science will also explore taking milk and cheese products into the campus dining community,” Oberbauer added. “And small-scale homestead cheesemakers will have new opportunities to hone their craft in our new facilities.” 

The university gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Noel Dairy Goat Research Fund and the Betty Nordfelt Memorial Research Fund.

About 100 students a year currently undertake experiential learning courses at the Dairy Goat Teaching and Research Facility and over the course of the year approximately 1,000 students study the goats in their courses. All goats are housed in dry lot style pens surrounding the main barn. Combined dairy herd size at the facility varies with current research needs and fluctuates between 65 and 125 animals.

The dairy herd consists of Alpines, Saanens, LaManchas, and Recorded Grades. All of the dairy goats are registered through the American Dairy Goat Association.

For additional information about the project, contact Animal Science Facilities Coordinator Dan Sehnert, 2215 Meyer Hall, 530-752-1256, djsehnert@ucdavis.edu.

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