Receiving its first major renovation in 51 years, the dairy microbiology building was dedicated as the Alfred Dairy Science Hall in October 2011. It is home to the Department of Dairy and Food Science and the Department of Biology and Microbiology.
Jacklina, a model cow, welcomes visitors who enter through the main lobby. This floor has a large lecture hall and classroom space. The dairy and food science department is located on this floor. Alfred Dairy Science Hall is also connected to the Davis Dairy Plant through the main level.
A large conference room housing historical artifacts of the college is used by students and staff. There is a lab for studying dairy chemistry also on the first floor.
The biology and microbiology department office resides on the second floor. The third floor has labs dedicated to dairy microbiology and analytics. The dairy manufacturing lab is connected to the dairy processing lab, making it easy for students to work through all stages of testing.
The building was dedicated in honor of the late Alfred Nef and Alfred Gonzenbach, two Swiss immigrants who founded Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank, South Dakota.
Alfred Gonzenbach was a native of the village Roggwil in the Canton of Thurgau in Switzerland. It was there that he completed a two-year apprenticeship in the art of cheese making. He brought his skill to the United States when he immigrated to Wisconsin in 1924. Following several job opportunities, including employment with a dairy that produced “certified milk” for hospitals, he secured a position as a cheese maker for J.L. Kraft in Antigo, Wisconsin. There he met and worked with Alfred Nef.
Nef was born and raised in the village of Urnasch in northeastern Switzerland, only two miles from the home of Gonzenbach. Nef’s father had a small textile business, but Nef wanted to be involved in agriculture and spent two winters at an agricultural college in the Canto of Bern. He primarily worked on farms in Switzerland over a period of four years. He immigrated to the United States in 1924 and had numerous jobs in southern Wisconsin. Then one day he went to work for a Swiss cheesemaker and cheesemaking became his vocation and career. His future wife finally came to the U.S. in September 1928, and they were married in New York City. Within six months they were in Milbank, South Dakota, to make cheese and raise a family.
Together Gonzenbach and Nef set out to live the American dream of owning their own business. They first began in a small factory in western Wisconsin. Then, in search of an opportunity in Montana, Gonzenbach’s stop in Milbank, South Dakota, to fill his car with gas ended in an invitation from the “town fathers” to settle here. It looked promising so he returned with Ned and they agreed to move their factory to South Dakota.
In March 1929, the two Alfreds founded Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank. From its humble beginnings it has grown and prospered to become a major cheese manufacturing plant and a market for milk produced in South Dakota and surrounding areas.
Physical Address:1224 Medary Ave.
Brookings, SD 57007