Organic Dairy Research Farm

Agriculture, Nutrition and Food Systems
Biological Sciences
New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station
Thompson School of Applied Science

With many users at each of our farm/field facilities, it is critical to ensure that we have knowledge of all ongoing and desired activities in order to ensure compatibility, and to coordinate resources required to provide support and facilitation as needed.  Importantly, we have responsibility for compliance with federal, state, university and local regulations, and to ensure safety for our staff, students, faculty, and visitors.

To request the use of the Organic Research Dairy Farm, please complete the Organic Dairy Facilities Use Request form.

In the form, you will be asked to provide information about the proposed project well in advance, so that we can evaluate our abilities to accommodate your requested use of facilities and resources. The pertinent required information (which is encouraged to be collected and organized in advance) includes the desired use of the facility or facilities, amount of number of cattle, dairy facility space, or other needs for the activity; approximate timeline of the proposed project; required treatments, preparation, applications or modifications to the dairy space, and intended measurements or sampling; the types of staff support that will required; and a completed copy of a IACUC approval form.

 The completed form will be submitted to the farm manager, Ryan Courtright, and the NHAES director, Anton Bekkerman, for review and approval based on availability resources, potential impacts on existing and planned activities, budgetary ramifications, and related management considerations. 

The NHAES Directors office will notify the requestor of a decision along with any qualifications, stipulations and/or requirements. You may be asked to visit with the Facility Manager(s) and/or the NHAES Director’s Office to clarify intended activities and requirements so that we may better serve your needs.  

Lastly, please be aware that full adherence to all relevant regulations, institutional approvals and compliance requirements (for example, http://www.unh.edu/research/compliance-safety) is the responsibility of the individual facility user.  Supporting documentation must be provided before any use is permitted.

For questions, please contact Ryan Courtright, 603-659-2121.

The Organic Dairy Research Farm is operated by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station and College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, and represents the first of its kind at a land-grant university. It is intended to help the University of New Hampshire explore opportunities for regional dairy producers through research.

The farm is home to about 100 registered Jersey cows, heifers, and calves, and located in Lee, about seven miles from the university’s main campus in Durham. The property consists of 275 acres, of which roughly 120 are woodlands, 100 are crops or forage production, and 55 are pastures. In addition to the working land base, the current operation includes a milking Jersey herd twice a day, step-up four-stall milking parlor, animal, equipment and storage barns, intensive rotational grazing system, numerous wells for water sampling, manure composting wind rows, staff offices, and sample processing space. Cows produce an average of 43 pounds of milk a day with 5.1 percent butterfat and 3.6 percent protein.

The farm is managed as an integrated agro-ecosystem that includes the biological, physical and human-related components.  As such it offers a platform for research and education across many disciplines. Research priorities are relevant to both organic and conventional farm operations. A primary focus of the farm is to undertake research of relevance to organic farm systems to better serve the organic farming community, consumers, and the environment. Areas of study include dairy nutrition and feeds, pasture quality, forage production, compost production, and management of the associated streams, soils, woodlands, and other natural resources. Faculty scientists and farm staff work cooperatively to undertake these activities while complying with organic certification practices.  The farm is a popular destination for visitors and local K-12 school field trips.

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Organic Dairy Aerial Photo
216 Lee Hook Rd
Lee, NH 03861