Agricultural Sciences

Penn State People: Nadine Houck cares about her cows

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nadine Houck loves her cows. As assistant manager at the Penn State Dairy Barns she monitors the health, nutrition and milk production of more than 400 cattle. She and the staff and students at the facility also carry on a tradition that originated with Penn State's agricultural foundation. Cows have been grazing on Penn State's University Park campus since the mid 1860s. The original barn was located on the present site of Carnegie Building. Through the years Penn State has become a nationally recognized leader in animal and dairy sciences.

Houck helps to manage the day-to-day work at the dairy barn facility, now located off of Park Avenue directly across from Beaver Stadium. The cows are milked twice a day and the more than 18,000 pounds of milk produced at the facility daily goes directly to the Berkey Creamery for production of ice cream, cheese, milk and more. Any surplus cream produced at the dairy barns is offered to other milk plants throughout Pennsylvania. Go to to view photos of Nadine Houck and the tasks she and the staff perform daily at the facility.

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is a national leader in advancements in livestock nutrition research. Houck and the staff monitor the feeding habits of the cows, from newborn calves to the oldest cows in the herd, through a computer database that tracks milk production, activity, health and food intake of each cow individually.

Houck and the staff of 11 full-time employees at the Penn State Dairy Barns perform one of the oldest jobs on campus and carry on the tradition of providing a healthy environment for Penn State's dairy cows through advances in nutrition, milk production and health care in a hands-on research and learning facility. Go to for more information about Dairy and Animal Sciences at Penn State.

Nadine Houck and the staff at the Penn State Dairy Barns milk the cows twice daily. Each cow provides nearly 10 gallons of milk per day. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated September 04, 2020