As their dependence on cows increased, Vermont farmers bred and raised animals that fit their needs. As with sheep earlier in its history, Vermont became known for its championship dairy stock. Though some farmers kept Holstein and Ayrshire herds, the Jersey breed pre-dominated in Vermont into the mid-twentieth century. A Jersey herd from West Randolph won first prize for its butter at the Paris Exposition in 1890 and again at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
The Vermont Dairyman’s Association was formed in 1869, the first association of this type in the country, and it was a vocal and successful advocate for scientific breeding practices and the development of new technology. Its efforts were supported by the work of the State Agricultural College at the University of Vermont. After the successful introduction of the centrifugal cream separator and the Babcock tester in the 1890s, Vermont’s dairy products were rated as some of the best in the world.
Invented in 1890 by Stephen Babcock, the Babcock Tester measured the butterfat content in milk and cream. State legislation made it the standard for testing in 1898 and in 1899 the legislature required operators to have a license.
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