The first stage of the land-use plan recommended the permanent relocation of the dairy program to the Kentland farm based on land availability, crop production issues, and the nutrient management plan, which ensures the most efficient management of the animals, their waste, and feed that had become pressing issues for the program. This goal will be accomplished over the next several years.

The university allocated $14 million in nongeneral funds to construct the first phase of new buildings at Kentland Farm. The Virginia General Assembly has approved $7.6 million in funding for Phase II.

College Representation on the University’s Relocation Planning Team

The following individuals within the college will represent the college on the planning team.

  • Mike Akers, Alphin professor and department head of dairy science
  • Mark Hanigan, David R. & Margret Lincicome Professor
  • Bob James, professor
  • Dwight Paulette, college farm coordinator
  • Shane Brannock, farm manager

They will ensure that any specific program needs impacted by the move will be addressed at the university level and seek input from the college community, students, affected producer groups, and other stakeholders throughout the process. 

Dairy Program Relocation Stages

Several stages are planned:

  1. Facilities for the non-lactating and lactating animals were completed in summer 2015.
  2. The General Assembly has approved planning money for the next phase of construction, which 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. Pre-planning for the project took place in 2014. Construction on the Phase II of the dairy relocation is expected to start in 2016.

Update, July 2015

The university held the grand opening of the new Virginia Tech Dairy Science Complex when Phase I of the project was completed.

Some of the features of the new dairy facility include an 11,900-square-foot milking parlor with a double-12 parallel milking system with a computerized milk monitoring system, a 46,000-square-foot freestall barn where the 232 milking cows will be housed, modern waste management system, a special needs heifer barn, and a pre-weaned calf facility.

Update, November 2013

In November 2013, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors  approved a resolution to sell approximately 26 acres of land to the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Regional Airport Authority for $9.4 million. The sale of the land will allow plans to expand the airport located near the Corporate Research Park to continue. Proceeds from the sale 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.

Update, September 2013

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution accepting design plans to replace the existing dairy complex on Southgate Drive with new, state of the art facilities at nearby Kentland Farm, a move that ensures the long-term success of the university’s award-winning dairy science program.

The plan calls for a replacement of existing buildings on a 35-acre site that can accommodate a fully functioning lactating cow herd of 230 and takes advantage of Kentland Farm’s proximity to feed production and grazing lands, among other things.

The new $14 million dairy complex is being paid for through non-general funds. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to be completed by 2015.

The design approved by the Board of Visitors calls for an efficient use of space and buildings that are either traditional-style pole barns or pre-engineered steel structures. Cows will be milked in an 11,900-square-foot barn with a double-12 parallel milking parlor. Feeding will occur in a more than 46,000-square-foot housing barn. Other buildings include a calf barn, a special needs barn, and maintenance facilities. A state of the art nutrient management system will include a hydraulic flushing system, sand bedding and recovery, and a weeping wall for solids collection.