Background of the relocation
A: The relocation of the dairy facilities became necessary as a result of the planned expansion of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) along Tech Center Drive and the expansion of the Virginia Tech-Montgomery airport runway. An interchange between Southgate Drive and Route 460 is also in the planning stages; this project will also impact dairy and crop production lands around Southgate Drive.
Additionally, new rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency entail changes to waste management procedures, which make it advantageous to integrate animal management and waste management practices into a cohesive land management plan.
A: New Federal Aviation Association (FAA) regulations require structure-free zones at the ends of the runway. These zones affect dairy structures. The FAA and the Montgomery VT authority have also planned to increase the length of the runway in order to build greater capacity for economic development in the region. As the runway length increases, and with it the no-structures zone, then a greater number of the dairy facilities are impacted.
The Virginia Tech CRC Phase I is virtually built out, capping the potential for further development. With the expansion, the CRC will be able to continue its success in advancing the research, educational, and technology transfer missions of the university.
A: The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, under the leadership of former Dean Sharron Quisenberry, initiated a comprehensive study of agricultural land uses on or near campus to support the university's future expansion while preserving the integrity of all agricultural programs. As part of this process, college and university representatives worked with consultants to determine the best-suited location for the agricultural programs.
A: One alternative considered was to move the dairy to the west side of the 460 bypass on land that is not part of the Kentland Farm. This option would still have required some animals to be housed at the Kentland Farm, resulting in a divided herd. This alternative was rejected due to the high operational costs. Another consideration, also rejected, was to move agricultural programs to the Catawba Farm. This option was not practical because of the farm's distance from campus.
Impact on instructional and research programs
A: Through the relocation planning process, the university is fully committed to its agricultural programs and to facilitating the necessary changes for the move. Agricultural teaching, research, and Extension programs are an integral part of Virginia Tech's future. The move provides the opportunity to modernize facilities, explore avenues for future growth and further integration of our programs across all mission areas, and solidify agriculture as part of the university's core.
A: Other near-campus programs affected by the future expansion of recreational sports and residential facilities are educational and research programs conducted by the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences; Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences; Horticulture; Biological Systems Engineering; Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science; and Entomology. All of these departments have been apprised of the future relocation of programs and will be involved in planning activities from the beginning. The dairy relocation, however, is our first and foremost priority at this point in time.
In addition to the dairy center, other animal-related facilities concerned are the equine programs east of 460 bypass and poultry programs on West Campus Drive will be impacted by the campus expansion.
A: This question is one of the issues that will be discussed at this very stage of the relocation planning process. Our students are a group that needs to have uninhibited access to the animals for classes and hands-on learning experiences. Many students also work for the Department of Dairy Science and help care for the animals. We want to make sure that we maintain their access and are aware of the concerns our students have shared with us.
A: New facilities will provide a state-of-the art location for students and researchers that surpass current capabilities. While the movement of the complex poses some logistical challenges, planning will include strategies to accommodate the department's education and research initiatives.
Impact on the dairy industry in Virginia
A: The relocation of our dairy facilities and the majority of our animals to the Kentland Farm will not affect dairy producers in the state. The Department of Dairy Science is committed to maintaining its services to producers across the state and will do so without any interruption to producers and other stakeholders.
A: Facilities to house and manage the production herd cost $14 million and were paid for through non-general funds.
Proceeds from the sale of 26 acres of land to the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Regional Airport Authority will be used to partially fund the relocation of the current dairy science facilities, which are located in the footprint of the proposed airport expansion. The Virginia General Assembly has approved $7.6 million in funding for Phase II.
A: The best use of the existing dairy will be considered as the planning process proceeds. To the extent possible, existing equipment and facilities will be reused and relocated to Kentland Farm. Some of the equipment was sold at auction.
A: As part of the site analysis process, the required utilities needed for operations at Kentland were identified, including potential sources of potable water. An on-site well already exists and the development of second new well will provide adequate water. The site analysis suggests reasonable prospects for the new well.
A: Construction on the Phase II of the dairy relocation is expected to start in 2016. New buildings will include a demonstration facility located near Plantation Road, an applied reproductive physiology facility adjacent to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and an intensive metabolism research facility at the Kentland Farm complex