Cooperative Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM )is a student-run cooperative in which 25 UNH students operate and manage a small business consisting of a registered Holstein dairy herd. CREAM is a yearlong course that gives students the opportunity to gain hands on experience in working with the dairy cows. Each fall, the herd is passed on to a new group of students with the help of a transition team of student advisors, as well as dairy center personnel, and faculty advisors. CREAM has been operating at UNH since 1997 and has progressed as a program each year due to the dedication and commitment of the students, faculty, and dairy center staff.
Explore the Program
THE RULE to be observed in this stable at all times, toward the cattle, young and old, is that of patience and kindness. A man’s usefulness in a herd ceases at once when he loses his temper and bestows rough usage. Men must be patient. Cattle are not reasoning beings. Remember that this is a Home of Mothers. Treat each cow as a Mother should be treated. The giving of milk is a function of Motherhood; rough treatment lessons the flow. That injures me as well as the cow. Always keep these ideas in mind when dealing with my cattle. -W.D. Hoard
The mission of CREAM is to provide students with a unique experiential learning model that will help them to understand:
- the applications of science to the management of a dairy herd
- how to work with other team members in a cooperative venture
- the work and decision-making skills required in production agriculture
- how to manage and operate a small business
The CREAM program is aimed towards building the students’ leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. This course is a great hands on educational experience; more importantly it is an experience for students to grow and learn to work in a professional setting.
CREAM will provide an experiential learning opportunity to University of New Hampshire Animal Science, Dairy Management and Pre-veterinary students as well as students from other majors. Students will learn about production agriculture and how to work in a group as they operate and manage the CREAM herd. The success of the CREAM program will ensure its continuance as well as promote the class, the Animal Science/Dairy Management program, the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the University of New Hampshire.
The Herd Mission
With regard to the herd, CREAM's mission is to provide a clean, comfortable environment for our cows and to manage them in such a way as to maintain a healthy, contented herd, which will produce high quality milk in an economical and sustainable manner. We will strive for genetic improvement in both type and production. In addition, we will maintain the herd so that it projects a positive image as we use it to provide public education about the dairy industry.
Q. What is CREAM?
A. CREAM is a two semester, eight credit class offered by UNH in which 20-25 students work together to manage a dairy herd. CREAMers are responsible for the health, breeding, milk production, feeding and costs of running a working dairy herd.
Q. How is CREAM run?
A. Students nominate and elect a president, vice president, secretary, and office manager. The elected president oversees the weekly business meetings and all decisions are based off a consensus amongst the CREAMers. CREAMers will spend 1/5 of the year in each of the five committees responsible for finances, milk production, breeding, checking cows throughout the day, and planning events for the class. In addition, students will voluntarily spend time in subcommittees created by the CREAMER’s. These range from health, to fundraising, to clothing, to education and many more which vary from year to year depending on the interests of the current CREAMers.
Q. What is the time commitment involved with CREAM?
A. The CREAM class meets for two hours twice weekly to run the business meetings. CREAMers complete two chore shifts during the weekdays with an additional 10-12 shifts on the weekends throughout the semester. Shifts can take anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours depending on the chores to be completed. Each student also takes on the role of herdsperson for 3-4 weeks of the academic year. During this time students spend more additional time in the barn, where they are pushing up feed, monitoring herd health, and administering treatments as necessary.
Q. What are chores?
A. Chores are done twice during the weekday with an additional 10-12 weekend shifts done throughout the semester. Shifts typically last from 1-2 hours depending on the number of cows in the string, maternity, superhutches, and calves. There are four different shifts covered each day:
Early AM- 4:15 am, Mid AM- 5:30 am, Early PM- 3:15 pm, Mid PM- 4:15 pm
Depending on the shift, 2-3 students work together to milk, feed, and clean!
Q. How is CREAM graded?
A. CREAM is not graded like a typical class; they are not graded upon how well they can retain information, but how well they can apply that information. CREAM is a peer graded class based on their involvement in business meetings, committee meetings, chores, CREAM activities, subcommittees and most importantly on their initiative. Grades are also given by the professor, teaching assistant, and farm staff. CREAMers receive one final grade on their transcript for the class in the spring and no grade is recorded during the fall.
Q. What will I learn in CREAM?
A. In addition to learning how to manage a functional business and work as a team, you will get hands-on experience in genetics, milking, feeding, recognizing diseases, administering medications, and developing alternatives for anything that needs improvement. CREAMer’s will also do a minilecutre presentation on any dairy cow disease/medical issue which they will educate their peers on. CREAM is a student run course and therefor they have considerable latitude in choosing topics that they learn about.
Q. For what majors is CREAM recommended?
A. Previous CREAMers have been Pre-Vet, Dairy Management, Equine Management, Pre-Med, Civil Engineering, Molecular- and Micro- Biology majors. The topics addressed in CREAM are pertinent in a diverse spectrum of academic fields; however anyone interested can apply for this course!
Q. Are there any prerequisites? Do I need to know anything about cows?
A. No previous animal experience is needed for the class; infact for many students this is their first experience with dairy cattle. To obtain more information about the class or dairy cattle in general, you can visit the Fairchild UNH Dairy Research Center near the Child Development Center and ask the staff and current CREAMer’s questions to gain a better understanding of the program. The Mast Road Shuttle will take you there just be sure to request to be dropped off at the Child Care Center.
Q. I'm really interested in the course, now how do I go about applying?
A. In order to apply for CREAM you must fill out an application. Once this is submitted you will shadow a CREAM shift and then set up an appointment with the Dr. Drew Conroy.
Q. Why is CREAM right for me?
A. CREAM is a great class for those wanting to learn more about agriculture, dairy management, health, or even business. This class is a great opportunity to gain some real hands-on learning experience and looks very good on a resume. CREAM is a one of a kind class here at UNH and if you think it sounds right for you, contact Dr. Drew Conroy or call (603) 862-2625
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