Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM), is a student-run dairy herd

UVM students manage farm operations and perform all of the barn chores. 

There are currently over 100 milking Holstein in the herd with 48 cows being milked at any given time. It is one of the highest producing and genetically superior herds in Vermont. This spring and fall semester program offers 8 credits (4 per semester) to 13-16 students each year.

Successful applicants are selected from all majors across the University and are not required to have a dairy or livestock background. The key requirements are a commitment to working hard and the thirst for knowledge. A CREAM student will leave this program with the skills necessary to excel in his/her chosen field whether that be business management, community development and applied economics, animal science, or biology.

Student and calf laying in the grass enjoying the sun

Olivia Wolfe and calf Easton 2016 Enjoying the sun

UVM CREAM on Across The Fence

Student being interviewed for story

One student's documents her summer experience with the CREAM show team.

Two CREAM cows in the barn

CREAM Faculty Advisor

Norm in the CREAM barn kneeling next to a cow

Dr. Norman Purdie

Originally from Australia, Dr. Purdie worked on dairy farms in his native Queensland for nine years before he attended the University of Queensland and received his Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree with first class honors and a Ph.D. in nitrogen metabolism in the dairy cow. He has worked in dairy systems in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. His aim with the UVM CREAM program is to make it the preeminent experiential learning experience in North America, teaching students valuable dairy and life skills by getting their hands and boots dirty. 

Norman Purdie, Ph.D.
Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
204 Terrill, 570 Main Street
Burlington, VT.  05405
802-656-2572
npurdie@uvm.edu
A female student pets a calf

CREAM Application

UVM CREAM Show Team

 

 

What is CREAM?

A new born calf in the birthing pen
  • CREAM stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management.
  • CREAM is a program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Vermont.
  • CREAM places emphasis on experiential learning to develop interpersonal, teamwork, and practical problem-solving skills.

What does CREAM entail?

  • 1 year of commitment and responsibility (Spring and Fall Semesters)
  • 4 chores per week. Chores are at 3:30 am, 11 am,  2:30 pm and 10:30 pm
  • 4 class meetings per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Special Projects
  • A wonderful experiential learning experience

What will students gain with their CREAM experience?

• Hands-on experience with large animals and dairy herd management.
• Life-long friendships and bonding experience
• Leadership qualities & effective communication methods
• Decision-making proficiencies Group & business management skills

Mission Statement

To be a leading experiential learning program in agricultural management offered by land grant universities in the United States where students assume the responsibility for making management decisions and experience the results of those decisions.  This will be accomplished by using the CREAM dairy herd as a learning platform to provide students with a unique opportunity to:

  • apply knowledge gained from classroom and laboratory studies to the management of a dairy herd;
  • learn and understand how  to manage and operate a business;
  • experience the work obligations and decision-making skills required in running a farm;
  • gain leadership, communication, problem solving, and team skills that will give them an advantage in their careers and make them more valuable to future employers.

Operating Goals

  • To be an economically sustainable learning enterprise within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont.
  • To improve the economic performance of the CREAM herd through high quality milk production and the promotion and sale of high quality purebred stock.
  • To achieve continuous improvement in the critical production/performance metrics.
  • To be internationally recognized through the success of the program.

About the sale of the UVM herd

In June 2010, the University of Vermont announced that it would be selling its dairy research herd. These 255 Holsteins were later sold to a private bidder and are slated to leave the UVM farm by early autumn. However, this sale does not include the CREAM herd. The 65 animals owned by the UVM CREAM program will remain on the farm and CREAM will continue to operate for years to come.
The sale of the dairy research herd has been featured in several news reports (many of which incorrectly infer that the CREAM program will be directly affected by the sale). While CREAM students are grateful for the publicity afforded to the program by these news reports, we would also like the public to keep in mind that the CREAM program will continue to thrive even when the UVM Holsteins leave the farm.
UVM research herd sale in the news: