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Wendell dairyman tapped for CAFE research dairy manager
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Wendell dairyman tapped for CAFE research dairy manager


A cow waits for its breakfast in October in Filer. The University of Idaho has tapped longtime Wendell dairymen John Wright to run its 2,000-head research dairy near Rupert. The dairy is expected to start milking in 2024. 

TWIN FALLS — John Wright, who ran his own dairy for 41 years near Wendell, will be the University of Idaho’s project manager for a $25 million dairy near Rupert that will be the largest research dairy in the world.

Wright said that his decades of experience working with 400 cows every day, and the mistakes he learned from over the years, will help him manage the massive operation.

“Forty years ago, I built my dairy when I was a young man full of vim and vigor,” Wright said in a University of Idaho press release. “Over the years, I got to look at every day and think, ‘Boy, why did I do that?’”

Brent Olmstead is the U of I College of Ag and Life Sciences director of government and external relations. He said Wright’s background makes him an excellent fit for managing a huge research dairy.

“One of the main reasons John is in the position is because he is so well-respected within the industry and well-known in the Magic Valley community,” Olmstead said. “In a sense, we have a project manager and an ambassador.”

The 2,000-head research dairy is part of a massive, $45 million project involving the University of Idaho, the Idaho Dairymen’s Association and the state. In addition to the dairy, the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) will include a Discovery Complex at the intersection of Interstate 84 and U.S. Highway 93. That building will have a visitor center, housing, faculty offices and classrooms.

The Discovery Complex will open in 2023, and the research dairy will start milking in 2024. The third prong of CAFE will be food processing research and training at the College of Southern Idaho.


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