Las Cruces Sun-News reports three colleges have joined forces to create the Great Plains Dairy Consortium to provide students with the background necessary to manage a large dairy herd.

New Mexico State University works with Texas A&M and the University of Arizona to provide leadership, support and resources to students from 11 institutions through hands-on training. Students learn about dairy management, nutrition, reproduction and animal health, environmental impact and animal welfare issues through two six-week classes followed by an internship. The program allows students to gain nine hours of credit to add to their dairy science, animal science or agricultural business degrees.

New Mexico State’s Robert Hagevoort, extension dairy specialist, said the program allows students to connect what they know with what they experience on the farm.

The program plays a key role as New Mexico State and other major universities are cutting the dairy program due to falling budgets. The future of the dairy industry is in jeopardy if there are fewer graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage a dairy farm.

The consortium provides a way to keep dairy management alive. Based on registration number, the 2011 program will again be a full class.

Source: Las Cruces Sun-News