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Dairy Husbandry and Science Extension

Dairy Husbandry/Science Extension
Completed in 1932, the Dairy Department and the creamery were moved from Patterson Hall to Borland Lab.

Completed in 1932, the Dairy Department and the creamery were moved from Patterson Hall to Borland Lab.

Professor E. B. Fitts was the first head of Dairy Extension at Penn State. He began work in 1922 and retired in 1937. Robert H. Olmstead became chair of Dairy Extension in 1937 and retired in 1954. Upon his retirement, Joe S. Taylor became chair and held the post until his death in 1974. Both Olmstead and Taylor made significant contributions to the development of the artificial insemination (AI) industry in the state. They also led the educational effort to eradicate both TB and brucellosis from the Commonwealth's dairy herds.

Dairy extension's longest running educational effort involves programs for youth. A prime example is the dairy show competition. In the 1940s, dairy specialist Joe Nageotte organized the state into six districts and encouraged 4-Hers to exhibit their animal(s) at their district show. In the 1950s, Nageotte and other 4-H leaders moved to take all blue ribbon winners at the district level on to a statewide show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. The effort was later joined by Vocational Agriculture (FFA) units and has grown to the point where about 800 dairy animals are shown at the Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show each September. Nageotte retired in 1956, and W. Paul Anderson transferred in from Somerset County to succeed him. Anderson retired in 1986, and Dale Olver now leads the Pennsylvania 4-H dairy program and coordinates the regional and state Youth Dairy Shows.

Prior to 1975, Extension units operated somewhat independently of the department, as they were responsible to the Director of Extension for the College of Agriculture, rather than to the head of the department. This arrangement was true for all Extension units in the college when they were established. However, all of them were integrated into their departmental structure by 1975.

Retired Dairy Extension faculty with major years of service and their area(s) of expertise

Name Years Expertise
Roscoe Welch 1919-1948 Management, dairy breeding
E. B. Fitts 1922-1937 Management, section chair
Robert H. Olmstead 1921-1954 Nutrition, section chair
Charles Gearhart 1923-1955 Dairy Herd Improvement program
Joseph C. Nageotte 1929-1956 Management, dairy housing
Ivan Parkin 1934-1964 Milk quality
Joe S. Taylor 1945-1974 Management, section chair
Herbert C. Gilmore 1946-1980 Dairy Herd Improvement program
Harvey E. Shaffer 1946-1979 Reproduction
Richard S. Adams 1954-1994 Nutrition
Donald L. Ace 1955-1984 Nutrition, management, section chair
Dexter Putnam 1956-1981 Dairy Herd Improvement program
W. Paul Anderson 1956-1986 4-H dairy program, coach of 4-H judging team
Larry W. Specht 1957-1996 Genetics, dairy records, section chair
Stephen B. Spencer 1960-1995 Milking management, dairy facilities
Sidney Barnard 1964-1997 Milk quality, (Dept. of Food Science, 1975-97)
C. William Heald 1981-2002 Management, section chair

Author: Larry W. Specht, Professor of Dairy Science