After almost a year of delay, construction has begun on the largest research dairy in the nation. The dairy will be home to about 2,000 cows and be part of the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment program in Southern Idaho.

Where in Southern Idaho is America's Largest Research Dairy Being Built?

The groundwork has already been prepped and some earthmoving has begun on farmland for the University of Idaho to build the largest research dairy in the United States. Crews began work on May 4th and once the ground is ready crews will come in and start pouring concrete for the milking parlor. Once fully running, the dairy will hold 2,000 cows and cover 640 acres.

The project could end up having three phases of construction. The first phase has begun with the start of the milking barn. The next phase will cover manure-handling facilities, a maternity barn, a feed area, shade and wind protection sections for the cows, and office buildings.

Plans for phase 3 will depend on how much funding is available after the first 2 phases finish. If possible, the plan will be to add a more comfortable barn for the cow with cross-ventilation and the ability to house between 800 and 1,200 animals.

When Will The Idaho CAFE Research Dairy Be Finished

The University of Idaho program leading the project is called the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment - Idaho CAFE for short. After delaying the project for about a year in hopes of lower labor and supply costs, the project is now on track to have cows arrive at the farm by the end of 2024. Phase 2 plans will be completed this summer, 2023, and construction bids will begin in the late fall months. If phase 3 gets the green light construction could begin by 2025. Information on the program website appears to be dated from the info in the recent press release as it has the first cows being milked at the facility in 2023.

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Research at the facility will cover agricultural economics, agricultural commodity risks, animal health, food safety and manufacturing, green energy use, odor and emission control, soil, and more.

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