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Teacher Preparation

Learning Goal

Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to better understand the history of the Oklahoma State Ferguson Family Dairy.


Learning Standards

  1. SS: 1.3 The student will examine important events and historical figures in the nation’s past.

  2. SS: 1.3.3 Read and construct basic timelines to understand the chronology of events in history.

  3.  SS: K.4.4 Explain how various community members including police officers, firefighters, soldiers, school personnel, business professionals, and medical


Resources & Materials

Lesson Delivery


Anticipatory Set

  • Do you all know where you are?
    • This is the Ferguson Family Dairy Visitor Center, and it opened in October of 2020, not too long ago. However, Oklahoma State has been involved with dairying since at least 1904- that’s over 100 years.
    • Today we are going to learn more about what has happened with the Oklahoma State dairy in those 100+ years.


Direct Instruction

1st Learning Goal: Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to better understand the history of the Oklahoma State Ferguson Family Dairy.


Content Outline
  • Three Holsteins (2 cows, 1 bull) started the college dairy herd. (History of OkState Ag)
  • The first Dairy Building was built in 1904 for $7,900. On the first floor there was a classroom, a small dairy processing plant, and a milking room. (History of OkState Ag)
    • This new building replaced the old facility in the Horse Barn. An addition was made to expand the dairy's creamery (a place to make and buy dairy products). The creamery was a popular place for students, faculty, and staff in search of inexpensive dairy products, especially ice cream. (OSU Timeline)
  • The college [did not have a large herd] of dairy cows, so the dairy plant started by purchasing milk from local farmers to produce dairy products and encourage farmers to invest in new equipment. (History of OkState Ag)
  • The Dairy Barn, a large building, was added in 1910 to accommodate a new herd of Jersey milk cows. The ground floor of the barn accommodated stalls and grain bins while the upper floor was used for a hayloft. The building also had two milking wings, each with concrete floors, galvanized iron stanchions, and stalls to handle sixty-six cows. (History of OkState Ag)
  • Holstein-Friesians were added [to the herd] in 1916. That year animal husbandry added a class in dairy cattle feeding, management, and judging. (History of OkState Ag)
  • A large new dairy barn of steel and brick was completed on the far west side of the farm in 1923. (History of OkState Ag)
  • A beginning herd of 5 Ayrshire cows was added to the Jerseys and Holsteins in 1924. (History of OkState Ag)
  • The dairy club was started in 1924 with 25 members. (History of OkState Ag)
  • The dairy judging team had members place at the national dairy judging contest in 1924. (History of OkState Ag)
  • Due to high demand from the creamery, the college encouraged junior and senior students to keep milk cows on the farm. By 1925 ten students owned 2 cows each, costing as much as 250 per head and (probably) purchased from the schools registered herds. (History of OkState Ag)
  • Rapid expansion in the creamery led to the construction of the new three-story dairy building (completed 9/1/1928). (History of OkState Ag)
    • The dairy science building was constructed in 1928 and it housed the Departments of Dairy Science and Agricultural Economics until 1962. (Oklahoma Historical Society)
  • A dairy products judging team began in 1928. (Oklahoma Historical Society)
  • On the farm, a new dairy barn was completed in December of 1948 at a cost of $250,000. Nicknamed the "Dairy Palace," the facility contained stalls for eighty cows, milking parlors complete with pre-milking baths and milking machines connected directly to a cooling room, a dairy cattle judging arena, and an adjoining "maternity ward." (History of OkState Ag)
    • guide students to think back to the first dairy building that cost on $7900 and was built less than 50 years earlier to help them understand the growth of the dairy.
  • Poultry science, dairy science, and animal science joined in 1967 to form the Institute of Animal Sciences and Industry. In 1976, the name was shortened to Department of Animal Science. (History of OkState Ag)
  • The current parlor was built in 1987. (Oklahoma Historical Society)
  • October of 2020, OSU Ferguson Family Dairy Visitor Center opened.

Learning Activity

Students should receive a very basic timeline with key points illustrated for them to color in.


Closing Announcements/Reminders

  • Answer any questions they may have.
  • Show them the robot and viewing windows one more time.
  • Thank students for coming to the Ferguson Family Dairy.
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