The third year course towards obtaining the Ulster Dairying Diploma – UDD – at Loughry Agricultural College is preceded by six weeks practical work normally undertaken at creameries and factories somewhere in the United Kingdom.
But history is in the making this year with the decision by Mr David Walker, Dungannon, above, and Mr Brian Maybin, Ballyclare, to “emigrate” so that they may do their “practicals” 3,000 miles away at Crowley’s Milk Company Incorporated in New York’s North Country near the famous Thousand Island section of the St Lawrence River.
Talking to FarmWeek, both men expressed their excitement at the prospect of breaking new territory and seeing at first hand the technological advances in the America dairying industry.
“We have made great strides in Northern Ireland,” they said, “but we have still a considerable leeway to make up on the USA.”
Loughry principal Mr W G Shannon said he completely supported the idea of his students availing of the opportunity to see at first hand American methods and standards.
“The work which these boys will be engaged on is particularly suitable from the technology level,” Mr Shannon said. “The more sophisticated American standards are well worth examining while all such tours have the additional advantage of broadening the outlook.
Mr Walker has no direct farming background but Mr Maybin has been reared on a 55-acre holding on which pig fattening and milk producing are the main enterprises.
Mr Maybin hopes to continue in research after completing his present course.
“I am particularly attracted to food processing for which there is ample scope for development in Northern Ireland,” he remarked.
“I have no firm decision made about a job after leaving Loughry,” Mr Walker said, “but I have thoroughly enjoyed the course there so far.”
About Crowley’s plant it can be said that probably more basic dairy products are made there, under one roof, than in any other dairy plant in the world.
Over 300 farms supply the plant with more than 100 millions lbs of milk, worth over four million dollars each year.