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Miller, Donald

About | Abstract


Miller discusses his work in the dairy program at New Mexico State University, and his military service

Interviewee Donald Miller, male, born in 1920
Date Range 1920-2013
Date & Location April 2, 2013, NMF&RHM
Project Farm and Ranch Folks
Region Southwest New Mexico
Number of Tapes 2
Transcribed May 29, 2013
Download Abstract


Tape 1, Side A

Miller grew up on a small farm. He has a PhD. in dairy micro-biology and a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry. He worked in a dairy processing plant before attending Washington State University to get his master's degree. He moved to Las Cruces in 1951 and began working at the New Mexico State University Experimental Station, as well as teaching dairy manufacturing. He recalls that the dairy department sold milk, coffee cream, and ice cream to about forty customers, thus creating income for the department. There is a discussion about the factors that the dairy farmer needs to consider when beginning a dairy business. While he did not generally work with the cows, he recalls a day when he was given an early morning call to go milk the cows. He says he managed to milk all forty of them, fifteen at a time, without much trouble. He learned to milk cows when he was a child, and while it was by hand at home he did alright with the milking machines at the university. Feed, slaughter plants, udders, and calving are briefly discussed.

Tape 1, Side B

During the years that Miller taught at NMSU, there were generally eight or ten students in his class. They would often go down to the dairy processing plant to assist in the making of the ice cream. He recalls that they made both vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Every Saturday he would freeze ten to fifteen gallons of ice cream. The ice cream, milk and coffee cream were sold through the dairy office. They also made yellow cheese and cottage cheese. He discusses the process of making the cottage cheese. The yellow cheese was left to incubate for several months before it was ready to eat.
He discusses his service during the war. He was drafted in 1942 at the age of twenty-two. He worked in the medical battalion doing air evacuations of wounded soldiers. He returned home in 1945. He shares how he met his wife, his marriage, her death, and briefly discusses the costs of tuition that he paid compared to the costs of tuition today. Miller is a volunteer at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, and works in the landscaping department.

Tape 2, Side A

He discusses a war incident he was involved in, and says that the incident has inspired his belief in a sixth sense, or extra sensory perception. He talks about the cause of the heart problems his wife had prior to her death.