dairy companies, said Mistry. The facility
allows students to get hands-on training
experience, and dairy processors, like Bel
Brands USA and Valley Queen, often rent
out space in the plant to test out new
equipment or develop new products.
“The students have an opportunity to
work with these companies and help them
develop products,” said Mistry.
SDSU’s plant has different rooms to
keep each processing step separated
from one other, just as it would be in
a commercial plant. A processing
room, where milk is received from the
university’s own dairy farm, has
pasteurization and separation equipment.
A freezer for finished ice cream is located
in an adjacent room, as is the ice cream
production room. Ice cream produced
in the facility is sold at the university’s
“The plant is inspected by the state
the same way a commercial plant is
inspected,” said Mistry, adding that
students must comply with the industry’s
food safety standards.
In the control room, the plant uses
Wonderware software to control all
equipment. Students can learn to observe
the process and make adjustments.
“The difference between us and
the commercial production plant is
we encourage students to go into the
processing room and take equipment
apart,” Mistry said. “If a pump isn’t working,
they can go in there and find out why.”
SDSU has just begun plans on
building a state-of-the-art dairy farm,
which will be designed to meet the needs
of future dairy farms. The department is
looking at ways it can employ robotics
and sensors on dairy farms and other
equipment that might be needed in 20
years. Mistry said he would like the new
dairy farm to be built and operating in the
next five years.
Debra Schug is a contributing writer for
The processing room in the dairy plant on the South Dakota State University campus.
The dry processing room in the dairy plant on the South Dakota State