DelVal students travel to Ireland over spring break to learn about the dairy industry

Apr 04, 2012

A group of 27 students from DelVal’s Dairy Society, a student organization, and three faculty members traveled to Ireland to tour dairy facilities March 8-15.


 The trip was just one of the many opportunities that DelVal offers for students to learn through experience.

“The trip broadened our horizons,” said Jenny Allen, a junior agriculture education major. “The whole experience was very educational. You can read about topics, but once you have the hands-on experience of going and seeing them for yourself, you learn better that way.”

Dr. Pamela Reed, associate professor of animal science and chair of animal and dairy science, Dr. Thomas Slane, associate professor of agribusiness and Dr. Bruce Richards, an assistant professor of dairy science traveled with the students.

“The trip was mostly about hearing a different side of how dairy is done somewhere other than here,” said Dr. Reed. “… Any time students learn how someone else does something, it opens their eyes to alternatives.”

The group started in Dublin and visited several different dairy farms and various places such as Killarney, Limerick, and Cork.

They also went to Alltech, an animal nutritional supplement maker, took a tour of Pallaskenry Agricultural College and visited a Dairymaster, a milking equipment manufacturer, and an agricultural research center.


Allen said the trip gave her a chance to see a different way of operating.

“The whole trip in general was a really good experience,” said Allen. “To go over to a different country to see how their dairy is run compared to ours here back home, how they do feeding, operations, housing, and the whole layout… it was a worthwhile experience for anyone who wants to be in the dairy industry.”

Dr. Reed said that the Irish dairy system uses grazing, which is low cost, but that the milk production from grazing isn’t as high.

“The whole Irish dairy system is very different than ours because it is all based on grazing and pasture,” said Dr. Reed. “They also have a milk quota system over there because they are part of the E.U., so students got to hear about that and the constraints.”

Seeing the agricultural college was one of Allen’s favorite parts of the trip.

“We got to look at sheep and beef operations to see how they were similar and different from ours (in the U.S.),” said Allen.

In between learning about how the dairy industry operates in another part of the world, the students got to see some of the beauty of Ireland and take in the sights.

The students had the opportunity to see some attractions including: the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Blarney Castle, which was built nearly 600 years ago and is home to the Blarney Stone. They also went horseback riding, which many said they enjoyed.


DelVal student Brianne Bendl got some leadership and event planning experience by planning this year’s trip. Bendl worked with a travel organization to plan the club’s visit to Ireland.

“She did a really great job planning the trip and everything went very well,” said Dr. Reed.

The students who went on the trip were: Jenny Allen, Caitlin Barwise, Brianne Bendl, Aaron Breneman, Stephanie Brewer, Heather Brooks, Sarah Conover, Avery Corondi, Devin Cunningham, Meghan Farmery, Katie Frey, Regina Grover, Susanne Heller, Nicole Hood, Elizabeth Lutz, Samantha Martz, Jennifer Mlaker, Quinn Mitchell, Gabrielle Murphy, Darla Romberger, Kayla Romberger, Jillian Salzmann, Angela Scaramuzzino, Kaitlyn Supa, Aubrey Swanson, Taylor Thomas, and Travis Whitcomb.

The Dairy Society went to Ireland in 2006 as well. Dr. Reed said the Dairy Society usually tries to plan a trip every year. She said in past years, they’ve gone to California, Puerto Rico and Wisconsin.

“It is important for students to know that there are possibilities that they don’t think about when it comes to dairy and care,” said Dr. Reed of the reason for taking the trip.