Nation's Largest Research Dairy Coming To Idaho's Magic Valley

Feb 15, 2019

The nation's largest research dairy is coming to the Rupert area and will research how to turn manure into agricultural or other products.
Credit detsang / Flickr

The largest research dairy in the nation is coming to the Magic Valley. Officials say it’s going to focus on the least glamorous aspect of dairy work.

It’s not an easy job being a dairy farmer. There are no days off, cows have to be milked and fed in any and all weather conditions. And then there’s the – the byproduct. Rick Naerebout, the CEO of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, uses slick language to describe the less-than-pretty focus of the new research facility coming to the Rupert area.

“Our focus is on: How do we innovate on the manure we’re producing, how do we turn that manure stream into a revenue stream for our dairy producers?” says Naerebout.

The 540-acre research dairy will be a joint venture between the University of Idaho and the Dairymen’s Association. Once completed, the facility will be known as the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

Naerebout says at 540 acres, the physical size of the place is not what will distinguish it.

“We’re going to be milking a thousand cows, and that’s what will set this research facility apart, is the fact that we have that sizable animal base,” the CEO of the Dairymen’s Association says. “We’re looking at a dairy more than twice the size of other research dairies.”

Naerebout says with the fluctuations of the dairy market, one of the challenges a facility this size faces is economic viability. He says he has confidence in University of Idaho’s commitment and their agriculture programs.

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