Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

South Dakota State University (SDSU) made a difficult decision this week to shut down its Dairy Research and Training Facility by the end of June, citing a lack of funding to upgrade the aging facility.

The dairy is located 1.5 miles north of the campus in Brookings, South Dakota, and houses about 150 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows, along with their calves and heifers. The freestall barn and double-eight parallel parlor were constructed in 1994 and were outfitted for faculty research and as a teaching laboratory for undergraduate and graduate students.

For renovations, the university received a legislative commitment of $7.5 million dollars with the expectation of a matching amount raised from private contributions. In a radio interview, SDSU President Barry Dunn said they were unable to garner that level of support, and even so, it would have fallen short of financing required to build a new facility.

With the closure of the facility, SDSU plans to work with nearby commercial dairies to conduct research, host learning opportunities and offer employment for students interested in dairy. The university will continue to offer degrees in dairy production, dairy manufacturing and food science.


The SDSU Davis Dairy Plant has been purchasing raw milk from the university’s dairy facility and plans to buy raw milk from commercial dairies to continue its processing operations.