University of Minnesota Dairy On Farm Clinical Externship


Dairy Education Center - Nicollet, MN

Senior veterinary students interested in dairy or mixed practice may elect to spend two-weeks at the Dairy Education Center located in the New Sweden Dairy. They live in the facility during those two weeks so that they are available at all hours to participate in clinical care, follow up on cases, and respond to any emergencies.  Students partake in the identification and treatment of sick cows, general health prevention programs (vaccinations, foot trimming, etc.) and day-to-day operations and monitoring.


The University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Davis Family Dairies have joined forces to create a unique partnership between a public university and a private milk production facility. The result is an academic facility, the Dairy Education Center, that is merged into a commercial dairy – New Sweden Dairy.

By working with Davis Family Dairies in creating the Dairy Education Center, the college can:

  • Care for enough cows so that we can reasonably expect to be able to teach students about routine clinical medic
    • Common diseases of cows at and around calving
    • Routine health maintenance activities
  • Provide a site that allows applied research under University control in a commercial setting
    • Provide the critical mass of cows necessary for scientifically valid applied research
    • Ensure standard operating protocols are maintained
    • Access complete records on all animals, treatments, and production throughout the cow's lifetime
    • Work in facilities that make it possible to handle, sample, and work with individual cows and small groups

Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

  • Dr. John Fetrow, supervisor of elective
  • University of MN College of Veterinary Medicine

Educational Resources

  • small dairy medicine library on site


Students participate in the identification and treatment of sick cows, general health prevention programs (vaccinations, foot trimming, etc.) and day-to-day operations and monitoring.  Students may be asked to assist dairy personnel in all aspects of daily activities.

  • Care of newborn calf
  • Care of calving cow
  • Care of immediate post-partum cow
  • Care of the early post-partum cow (1-14 days fresh)

Student Supervision

The rotation will run from Monday of the first week through the weekend of the second week. All activities will be under the direct supervision of dairy personnel. Faculty on site 8-5 (or more) each weekday.


Yes. Students will be expected to maintain the living and learning quarters in the Dairy in clean and tidy condition and to leave it in such condition for the next rotation of students.

Practice Information

Dairy Education Center
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
43475 County Road 15
Nicollet, MN 56074

Phone: 612-625-3776

Fax: 612-625-6241

Email: fetro001 [at] umn [dot] edu

Signature On File: John Fetrow, VMD, MBA
Updated: 10/20/11