Today, the Wisconsin State Quarter Coin remembers when the first dairy school began on January 3, 1890.
The success of that school perhaps explains the cow on the coin’s design.
From the Report of the Commissioner of Education Made to the Secretary of the Interior for the Year 1898-99 – United States Bureau of Education:
III.— INSTRUCTION IN DAIRYING.
Prior to the passage by the Congress of the United States of the act of July 2, 1862, donating lands to the several States for the purpose of establishing institutions in which the lending object should be instruction in agriculture and the mechanic arts, very little had been done in this country for the scientific education of the farmer.
The passage of the said act and of the act of August 30, 1890, for the more complete endowment and support of the institutions established under the provisions of the act of July 2, 1862, resulted in the establishment of what are generally known as “agricultural and mechanical colleges” in each State and Territory of the country.
The courses of study provided for the farmer or for those who wished to prepare themselves as such were intended to cover the entire field of agriculture as well as to furnish a good general education.
Thus, while general instruction in dairying as it should be carried on by the farmer was included in the agricultural course, no provision was made until a comparatively recent date for the education of persons who were to devote themselves to the making of butter and cheese.
On account of the lack of such instruction creamery men were compelled to rely upon their own efforts for any improvements in the methods of manufacturing dairy products, and as a result could not compete successfully with the butter and cheese makers of countries where instruction in dairying and investigations into the subject were carried on.
In order that the dairy interests of the country might be fostered as much as possible it was considered necessary to provide the needed instruction, and thus special schools of dairying were established in connection with the agricultural colleges of the country.
The establishment of experiment stations in connection with these institutions, under an act of Congress of March 2, 1887, undoubtedly assisted in the founding of dairy schools, as it opened the way for investigation of the subjects to be taught therein.
The Wisconsin Dairy School of the University of Wisconsin was established in January, 1890, and in 1891 the legislature of that State appropriated $25,000 for the erection of a dairy building in connection with the dairy school. These steps were quickly followed by other States.
The popularity of these schools and the demand for the services of persons who have received instruction therein are proofs of the wisdom of their establishment.
In his report for the years 1896-97 and 1897-98 to the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin, President C. K. Adams says: “Our dairy department has now sent out more than 700 trained students, and still the demand is far more than we can supply. There are now about 2,500 creameries and cheese factories in the State. * * *
“The importance of the work of the school is indicated by a single fact. Only a few years ago Wisconsin cheese was worth in the market from 2 to 5 cents a pound less than the cheese of New York, but at present, chiefly — directly or indirectly — through the teachings of the dairy school, the relations of the products of these States in the market, as well as in the opinions of experts, have been reversed.”
In the tenth biennial report of the board of regents of the University of Minnesota the influence of the dairy school of that institution upon the dairy industry is stated as follows:
“Since the establishment of this school dairy industry has made such remarkable growth that Minnesota is now recognized as one of the leading dairy States of the Union. * * *
“During the past two years some 200 new creameries have been built, equipped, and are being successfully operated, bringing the number of creameries in the State up to 650. When the last biennial report was made it was estimated that half of the dairy products in the State was manufactured in creameries.
“Now the product of the creameries is about 50 per cent greater than that of the home dairy. A careful estimate of the annual amount received by patrons of the creameries in this State is $10,000,000, and the receipts from the home dairy $6,500,000. During the seven years that the school has been established, 484 students have been in attendance.”
Probably the most important invention as an aid to the dairying interests of the country is the Babcock milk test, invented by Dr. S. M. Babcock of the University of Wisconsin, by means of which it is possible to determine the amount of fat in milk.
This method of testing milk is taught in the dairy schools of the country, and is in almost universal use even in home dairies. As the quantity and quality of butter that may be made out of a certain amount of milk depends upon the amount of fat contained therein, the price paid for milk by some creameries is regulated by the amount of fat it contains as determined by means of the milk test.
In the report of the University of Wisconsin, quoted above, President Adams calls attention to another aid to the dairying interests.
He says: “Probably next in importance to the invention of the Babcock milk test has been the Wisconsin curd test, also devised at this station. This is a simple method of treating a sample of milk so that it will show to the operator whether or not milk is contaminated or tainted in any way so as to unfit it for use in the dairy, especially for use in cheese making.
“Not infrequently the product of our cheese factories is depreciated in value from $3 to $15 per day for weeks at a time because of bad milk. It has been calculated that $100,000 a year is not too small an estimate for losses to our dairymen from this source.
“The experiment station is now teaching the dairy pupils the use of this test, and its introduction over the State is spreading rapidly. The Wisconsin Dairymen’s Association for 1898 and the Quebec Dairy men’s Association for 1897 have both warmly commended the test as having already greatly increased the value of dairy products.”
The special dairy schools are not conducted throughout the entire scholastic year, but are opened, as a rule, in December or January, and continue for from four to twelve weeks, the length of the course varying in the several States.
These special courses, being intended especially for persons who have had some experience in creameries or cheese factories, are given in the winter season, as that is the most convenient time for creamery men to leave their work, the summer months always being the busiest in creameries.
In some of the schools one of the requirements for admission is that the applicant shall have had practical experience in creameries.
Owing to the large amount of practical work included in the courses of these schools the number of students admitted at any one time is necessarily limited to such number as can be accommodated at the machinery and other apparatus of the department.
University of Wisconsin.
Equipment. — Hiram Smith Hall is devoted entirely to dairying. This structure of brick and stone has a frontage of 95 feet by 48 feet in depth and is three stories in height. It contains an office, lecture room, reading room, dairy laboratory, and rooms devoted to creamery practice, cheese making, farm dairying, pasteurizing, cheese curing, etc.
The dairy course opens the 1st of December of each year and lasts twelve weeks. The class is divided into three sections, one of which is assigned daily to the laboratory, a second to the creamery, and a third to the cheese factory. The sections alternate, so that each student receives instruction twice a week in each of the three departments.
The courses are arranged as follows:
1. Lectures and class-room work. — Twenty-four lectures on the constitution of milk, the conditions which affect creaming and churning, methods of milk testing and preservation of milk, etc.; 16 lectures with demonstrations, on the influence of bacteria in the dairy; 8 lectures on heating, ventilation, and other physical problems directly connected with dairy practice; 10 lectures and demonstrations on the care and management of the boiler and engine; 10 lectures on the common diseases of the dairy cow; 8 lectures on the feeding and management of dairy stock; 8 lectures on breeding and selection of dairy stock; 12 lectures on creamery management and accounts; 12 lectures on practical cheese making.
2. Milk testing. — This embraces instruction in the laboratory in estimating the fat in milk, butter, and cheese by methods adapted to the factory and factory operators (six hours per week).
3. Butter making. —Butter making is carried on daily on the creamery plan. The student learns to operate the several forms of power centrifugal separators on the market. They attend to the ripening of the cream, churning and packing butter, carrying on all the operations as they would be conducted in a creamery (twelve hours per week).
4. Cheese making. — Daily instruction in the manufacture of cheddar cheese, the operations being carried on as in a regular factory, the students being required to take careful notes and make reports of the process (sixteen hours per week).
Students who have had much experience in factory work and can pass satisfactory examinations in the practical work of the creamery or cheese factory will be advanced early in the term to the experimental dairy section, where problems connected with this branch will be studied.
Advanced dairy instruction will consist of the following courses: Instruction on milk and its products; experimental investigations in butter making; investigations in cheese production; dairy bacteriology as follows: (a) A special course in the preservation of milk and cream for commercial purposes; (b) students familiar with the use of the microscope will be admitted to the bacteriological laboratory for experimental work in dairy bacteriology.
In the regular course in agriculture the instruction in dairying is as follows: The chemistry of the dairy; the composition and physical properties of milk and its manufactured products; the principles involved in modern dairy practice; detection of adulteration, etc.
The Wisconsin State Quarter Coin shows with an image of a Waushara County [WI] farmer milking a cow, circa 1941.