Not all dairy farmers are born on a farm; some are made in the classroom. One such high school that features an agricultural program is located in the town of Hudson, New Hampshire, just east of Nashua. Alvirne High School was established in 1950 on a large piece of property left to the town by Alfred and Virginia Hills, and is now home to approximately 1,300 students. In addition to traditional academic departments offered at most high schools, Alvirne, whose name combines the first names of its benefactors, includes a comprehensive career and technical education center, The Wilbur H. Palmer Vocational - Technical Center. Here, students can take classes in a variety of fields, including engineering, horticulture, veterinary science, and agriculture business and management; all disciplines essential in the operation of a full-scale dairy farm.
The Alvirne Farm is home to 20 milking cows and 16 heifers, along with sheep and donkeys. The students learn to treat and care for the animals through frequent interaction learning various aspects of managing a dairy farm; nutrition plans for the animals; and animal biology and reproduction. Our students help run a rabies clinic, volunteer at local farms, and teach younger students about the animals. They receive a very comprehensive education, and are typically well prepared for the next step, whether it is attending veterinary school or running a dairy farm of their own. “What’s crucial to the future of agriculture is an awareness of its significance The farm provides a unique experience for students to work with the dairy herd in an authentic setting. They are learning real world skills and preparing for a career in agriculture.” said Jenna Dube, Alvirne’s agricultural department chair.
Although the 50 acre farm produces only a small amount of milk, the school and the students are proud that their hard works contributes to the making of “The World’s Best Cheddar.”
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