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USDA breaks ground for new dairy forage research facility

A new dairy and forage research facility for USDA and partners including the University of Wisconsin is a step closer to reality. 

Dennis Hancock is the director of the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center near Sauk City, Wisconsin.  He tells Brownfield the new facility has been planned for over a decade, and will allow for more and modern research, including work on greenhouse gas emissions. “For example, we have an emissions chamber where we will be able to measure all of the gases and all of the nutrients that cycle through that animal in very precise detail.”

Hancock says the new facility will include a free stall barn for milking around 360 cattle with robots, and he says there’s a long list of people wanting to do dairy research. “There’s a whole lot more questions that need to be answered and there’s a lot of folks working on this, and there’s limited resources in terms of space.”

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin helped secure federal funding for the new research facility. “This is really about cutting-edge research, but getting it into the hands of dairy farmers and producers as soon as we can.”

Construction will begin early next year, and the new research facility is expected to open in mid 2027.

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