The University of New Hampshire’s organic research dairy farm has announced the birth of its first organic female calf. The Jersey heifer, born Dec. 12, is the firstborn to mother May (both pictured here), bred at Molly Brook Farm in West Danville, Vermont. The calf weighed 42 lbs. and was 24 inches at the withers.
“She’s a beautiful, healthy calf, and May handled the birth like a pro,” says “Uncle” Charles Schwab, a UNH professor of animal and nutritional science. “We’re anticipating a busy month ahead, as 46 cows in the herd give birth and begin producing organic milk.”
Now, here’s the fun part: The calf will be named by the highest bidder on an eBay auction, with proceeds going to the university’s organic dairy project.
A registry for “baby gifts” will be established online. In lieu of diapers and strollers, the cows request contributions toward farm equipment and new facilities for their calves. (UNH has raised half the project total of approximately $1.5 million.)
Both May and her calf are resting comfortably at Burley-Demerritt farm in Lee, site of the organic research dairy farm. A maternity and fresh cow barn has been renovated, and a farm equipment building has been constructed. Planning and fundraising are in progress for a barn, state-of-the-art milking parlor and educational center.
UNH will begin shipping organic milk in early January. It launched its organic dairy in December 2005 as the nation’s first land-grant university to have an organic dairy farm. It provides much-needed education and science-based research for present and future organic dairy farmers, while helping to secure the future of the Northeast’s farming heritage.
The farm is located on 200 certified-organic acres in Lee, about five miles from the center of campus.