Digital agriculture, big data and machine learning are slowly creeping into the classroom and this opens up new areas of learning and engagement for our students. Economic decision-making and integration with management and biological principles are still our primary strength and the focus of the program and course structure. However, as companies change focus, we are working to meet new expectations and demands for skills that were not as relevant just a few years ago.
Here are some updates about the dairy program:
The 2019 Dairy Challenge team headed to Tifton, GA, and had another second place showing and made us proud as a representative of the program. The team was comprised of Benjamin Dye, Nolan Feldpausch, Simon Johnson and Christopher Sweeney. As usual, the team was chosen by the Senior Fellows to represent the program in the contest.
- Further, 15 students participated in the Dairy Challenge Academy, held in conjunction with the North American Dairy Challenge Contest in Tifton, GA in April. The Academy provides the same exposure to the industry and dairy business evaluation as the contest team and make presentations with the help of industry advisors to help them through the process.
- Another twenty-two Dairy Fellows participated in the Northeast Dairy Challenge Program in Rochester, NY in October, hosted by SUNY Alfred. Our seniors were able to interact with students from 15 other agricultural colleges in the Northeast in analyzing dairy farm businesses.
- The Dairy Cattle Judging Team had another good run, coached by alumnus Kevin Ziemba. The team placed 9th and 4th in reasons at World Dairy Expo with Paige Demun placing 13th overall and Allison at 17th.
- We would like to recognize some scholarship winners from the past year. The most prominent scholarship available to dairy oriented students is the Richard Popp Scholarship. As many of you know, the Popp Family created the scholarship to honor Dick’s memory and to be awarded to students that are engaged in dairy business and production. The award is given yearly and the 2019 award winners were Benjamin Dye, Nolan Feldpausch, Simon Johnson and Christopher Sweeney. We are grateful to the Popp Family for their continued support of the program.
- We continue to encourage our students to participate in exchange programs. Programs and countries that our students have, or will, participate this year include New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, and Australia. The CALS exchange program continues to grow and with our growing network in dairy, we are helping them make linkages to improve opportunities for our students around the world. In addition, we had students participating in internships in New Zealand and Italy.
- On even years, we have maintained our international trips with the help of friends and colleagues and this year the students participated in a 10 day trip to Italy or China. The underclassmen flew to Milan, and then toured the north side of the Po Valley, learning about Taleggio, Gorgonzola, and mozzarella di buffalo. For something new for all of us, they went to Asiago to learn about true, alpine style cheeses. Then they traveled to Parma for balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto production along with some cultural exposure. A weekend in Rome was a big hit and the trip was capped off by a couple nights in Florence and some tours to sheep dairies and pecorino production. The trips are developed with help from friends and colleagues in Italy, especially, Mauro Bianchessi, Federico Righi, Baldassare (Ubaldo) Fronte, Elena Bonfante and Martina Cortese. We are very grateful to them for the continued time and support on behalf of the program.
- A small story was written about the trips by CALS Communications: https://cals.cornell.edu/news/winter-break-trips-celebrate-25-years-connecting-students-international-dairy-industry#
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