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NEXT GEN: The 2019 Chobani Scholars recipients prepare to work with livestock at the Cornell University Teaching Dairy Barn. Pictured are Cassandra Wilbur (left), Emily Starceski, Caroline Lafferty and Blade Wadsworth.

Chobani Scholars program supports future dairy leaders

Four first-year students at Cornell received $20,000 scholarships to help pursue careers in dairy.

Nuzzled by newly weened calves, Emily Starceski feels right at home in the Cornell University Teaching Dairy Barn.

She grew up working on her family’s farm in western New York and now majors in animal science with a focus on dairy management.

Starceski is one of four Cornell first-year students who’ve received $20,000 scholarships from Chobani to help them pursue a career in the dairy industry.

Announced in June 2018, the Chobani Scholars program supports New York state students at Cornell who have a family connection to dairy farming and plan to pursue a career in the dairy industry. Eligible students are chosen from those studying dairy management in the Department of Animal Science at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“The success of the next generation of dairy farmers is incredibly important to us, and this unique program is designed to invest in some of the most talented and passionate youth leaders out there,” says Jason Rahlan, director of social impact and philanthropy at Chobani. “Through this partnership with Cornell, the students will learn valuable skills that they can use to positively impact the dairy industry of the future.”

The newest Chobani Scholars all believe technology is a game-changer for their generation. Everything from activity-tracking devices that help farmers monitor the herd’s health to more efficient milking practices and more nutritious feed are all giving the dairy industry the tools it needs to succeed.

All four students say that being involved in the dairy industry from a young age has made them passionate about continuing to support and improve it.

The 2019 Chobani Scholars are:

Caroline Lafferty of Schodack Landing, N.Y. “CALS has shaped my understanding of animal science and dairy management and it has diversified my perspective on dairy farming,” Lafferty says. “Coming from a small town with a limited number of people involved in the dairy industry to a large campus with a whole new network of dairy people has shaped my understanding at a new speed.”

Emily Starceski of Sherman, N.Y. Starceski has worked on her family farm since middle school. She says it’s important for people outside of the industry to realize that family farms aren’t competing against each other.

“We are all on the same team, trying to provide consumers with a pristine product,” Starceski says.

Blake Wadsworth of Charlton, N.Y. Wadsworth is interested in pursuing herd management as it relates to genetics.

“CALS has helped me think on a larger scale and look at bigger pictures since there is a large diversity of student and professor backgrounds,” he says, “which all give unique insights to certain problems.”

Cassandra Wilbur of Fabius, N.Y. Wilbur grew up on the family farm and joined the local 4-H group when she was 9.

“Being active within the 4-H group enabled me to apply for the Beginner Dairy Leadership and Junior Dairy Leader groups through Cornell,” she says. “I wouldn’t be a part of the Cornell community if I hadn’t started 4-H all those years ago.”

Chobani also awards $200,000 annually in grants through its Community Impact Fund to expand economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in central New York, including $36,333 to Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County and $27,082 to Cornell Cooperative Extension Delaware County in 2019.

Wiegand is the editorial content manager at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset
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