Until the end of the 19th century, animal handling was a down-prioritized field of work. It was common among Norwegian and Nordic farmers to have more animals than the winter feed would hold. The herds thus lived on hunger boundaries throughout the winter, and there was a calculated risk that some animals would starve to death before spring and the opportunity to let the animals run out in the field. Many animals gave a lot of fertilizer - which was important for grain farmers - and opportunities for income from sales during the harvest season. But the starving cows produced little milk.

Norges Vel decided to do something about this situation, and between 1850 and 1870 Swiss dairymen was recruited to Norway to teach Norwegian farmers better animal husbandry and dairy treatment.

  • 1850: Brought in skilled dairymen from Switzerland to Norway to teach farmers better animal husbandry and dairy treatment
  • 1856: Agriculture show were arranged to stimulate better livestock conditions
  • 1857: A pedigree of Telemark cattle was built at Mæla Agricultural School in Skien
  • 1858: Started two new cooperative dairies in Nord-Østerdal and one in Nittedal
  • 1860 and forward: Several cooperative dairies started, many of these with financial support from Norges Vel
  • 1865: The first dairy chief was appointed to travel round and give advice on dairy treatment 
  • 1866-1888: Norges Vel takes an active part in the creation and running of dairy schools