Canada’s First Industrial Dairy School

Édouard-André Barnard (1835–1898), Jean-Charles Chapais Jr. (1850–1926), and Damase Rossignol (1848–1901) established Canada’s first industrial dairy school in 1881, in Saint-Denis de Kamouraska, Quebec.

A lawyer by training and an agricultural journalist by profession, Barnard went to Europe on behalf of the Quebec government to study agricultural practices in the 1870s. During his travels, he saw the possibility of exporting butter and cheese produced in Canada to the British market. In 1876, he became the editor in chief of the Journal d’agriculture and Director of Agriculture at the Quebec Department of Agriculture and Public Works. He promoted the financial benefits of butter and cheese production for farmers and Quebec’s agricultural economy, and encouraged farmers to create creameries and cheese factories within their parishes.

In 1881, he joined forces with fellow agrologist Jean-Charles Chapais Jr. and Damase Rossignol to establish a dairy school in order to train manufacturers and the government’s first factory inspectors. This school helped to improve the quality and boost the yield of the province’s dairy factories and increase sales at home and overseas.

In 1882, Barnard helped to create the Société d’industrie laitière de la province de Québec. This association became a key player in promoting and developing the industry.

Over the course of the school’s short existence, 48 students received training at the École d’industrie laitière de Saint-Denis de Kamouraska. The dairy school remained closed in 1884, but the creamery continued to operate until 1960. The former school was demolished in 1965.

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