Bringing a New Meaning to Early Mornings

Bringing a New Meaning to Early Mornings

UNH Dairy Calf

Working at the UNH Dairy Barn

UNH Dairy Barn CREAM 

We’ve all heard it before. As a senior I’ve heard it around campus every day for the last three years: “Ugh, I’m so tired, I had to wake up for my 8 am class!” This phrase never seemed to bother me, until last year when I took a class that required a much earlier alarm than 7:55 AM. This class was CREAM, or Cooperative Real Education in Agricultural Management. In this class, approximately 25 students run a herd of about 25 cows at UNH’s Fairchild Dairy Center for a whole year. The students take care of everything, from feeding, to milking, to making business decisions about the herd.

Feeding UNH Baby Calf

Early Mornings at the UNH Dairy Barn

In addition to students in this class, there are students who work at the barn, assisting in ongoing research projects, or just for a job. The cows get milked at 4:30 AM and 3:30 PM. And yes, students willingly wake up to go do this job. The funniest thing I’ve heard people ask me is, “You have weekends and holidays off, right?” The answer is no, cows don’t know it’s Christmas and stop producing milk. They still need to be fed even if there’s an awesome party Saturday that you want to sleep in after. The students who work at the barn are some of the most dedicated people I know, still going into work with the flu, in a blizzard, or on Thanksgiving when everyone else is home with their family. I worked 2-4 shifts per week last year while in CREAM, and this year I work a few less shifts, this time assisting with research going on at the barn. Though I get aggravated on the mornings where I had to wake up at 3:45 AM and I hear someone whining about their 8 or even 9 AM, I wouldn’t change my lifestyle.


The Perks of the UNH Dairy Barn

Yes, it’s an early morning and yes, cows can be stubborn and unreasonable. But any barn worker would agree that being around the cows every week in between labs, exams, and late night study sessions is relaxing.When I’m having a hectic week, seeing something like a calf being born grounds me and reminds me of why I’m challenging myself with tough classes. Being on the PreVeterinary track can be overwhelming, but the cows and their individual quirks (yes, they all have personalities) makes it all worth it. All I want is for students to appreciate all that farmers do just to provide us with our favorite foods, like ice cream! I only worked a couple shifts a week last year, but farmers across the country work way more than this. Also, this doesn’t seem to be well known across campus but UNH’s Fairchild Dairy Center is open 8 AM-6 PM every day for visitors! I recommend taking a trip down their with friends to see cows getting milked or fed, and of course, the adorable calves. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to work there too!

Visit the new calves at the UNH Dairy Barn!