Some of the earliest risers on campus are the students in the UNH Cooperative real Education in Agriculture Management (CREAM) program. The CREAM program is a group of 25-30 students who, with close supervision of their advisors, run a small dairy business and manage a herd of 20-30 Holstein dairy cows.
In the beginning of the semester each student is assign his or her own cow from the heard. In order to make sure that cows are properly cared for the students divided their chore list amongst themselves. Caroline Reckelhoff, biomedical science major/vet science major assigned to cow #656, stood directing cattle into the waiting area of the milking parlor.
“We have to heard our string of CREAM cows here for every milking,” said Reckelhoff. “While we heard the cows out other students are cleaning the stall, feeding, and milking.”
As part of their class the students meet twice a week for two hours and conduct a business run by the elected president. Each student is also assigned to a committee where they will spend 1/5 of the year managing finances, milk production, breeding, checking cows throughout the day, and planning events for the class.
“This class helps provide real world experience to student who wish to continue on to veterinary school, or with dairy farming,” said John Whitehouse, a faculty advisor for the CREAM program. “We also have a few business and liberal arts majors who take the course for the business experience.”
This year student Steven Cowley, a UNH history major is taking the course. Although he was unavailable to explain why he chose to.
The CREAM program is also know to may local dairy farmers in the area and help students get jobs after graduation. For students who wish to continue dairy farming the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research center hires many former students.
“We do have a good amount of former CREAMers here,” said Whitehouse. “I also keep in contact with students who work on other farms or decided to continue on to vet school.”