Dairy Fellows

What is Dairy Fellows?

Dairy Fellows is an educational and exploration program for Cornell juniors and seniors. The groundbreaking and nationally recognized program began in 1984 with the vision that students headed for careers in the dairy industry needed more than traditional science courses to prepare for the ever-changing world of modern agriculture. Since that time, hundreds of Cornell students have taken advantage of the Dairy Fellows Program to learn about dairying's diversity, formulate career plans, experience international travel, pursue internships and develop a personal and professional network of people in dairying. More than 1,200 graduates have realized the impact of the Dairy Fellows program.

Dairy Fellows is a partnership between dairy producers, agribusinesses and Cornell to educate and prepare students for the future. While the science is here and an essential part of the Dairy Fellows program, the dairy industry is the focus – there are very few programs that have that focus with the same degree of intensity.

Why Participate in the Fellows Program?

After two years as a Dairy Fellow, you will be up to speed on dairy's latest innovations and trends. You will be trained to solve problems and will develop an ambitious work ethic.

The underlying qualification for participants to the Cornell Dairy Fellows program is a sincere interest in careers in the dairy industry, whether that career is related to veterinary medicine, research, agribusiness, law, production agriculture or another aspect of the dairy industry. Sixty to seventy percent of Dairy Fellows students pursue careers in dairy production.

Dairy Fellows will introduce you to all aspects of the dairy industry from production to financial management and nutrition, and from agribusiness long-range planning to international milk markets. Through your experience as a Dairy Fellow, you will gain an understanding of how to position yourself for careers in agriculture.

Providing World-Class Education to Advance the Dairy Industry

The field of Animal Science is diverse and the program offers flexibility for students to pursue their particular interests while still providing a broad education within a first-class university. The Dairy Management faculty are respected leaders in their areas of expertise and are known widely for their research. They are also people who love to teach and love to bring out the best in their students.

The Cornell Dairy Fellows Program fulfills the University's mission of learning, discovery, and engagement. The Dairy Fellows program exemplifies this mission through its strategic balance of scientific instruction and practical industry education. The core strength of the Dairy Fellows program is the combination of courses and experiences that prepare students to have a better awareness and knowledge base of the dairy industry.

The Dairy Management Concentration includes a variety of courses that have been developed to meet the needs of preparing the students for industry. Students are encouraged to complement the variety of dairy related courses with courses outside of animal science. Many students take classes in Food Science, The Johnson School of Business, and the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. We believe this creates an appropriate balance of educational experiences that allow the students to effectively engage with the industry as they begin their careers. Further, these classroom opportunities allow the students to interact with non-agricultural students and professionals in a business environment and create networks outside of Dairy Fellows.

The Dairy Fellows Program accommodates transfer students who will seamlessly transition into the program and benefit from the expanded opportunities offered at Cornell. Specific transfer requirements and agreements can be found on the CALS Admissions webpage.

Graduates from the Dairy Fellows Program are prepared to:

  • Enter the dairy production industry, on either family or non-family dairies
  • Pursue careers in finance and lending, nutrition, journalism and pharmaceutical sales
  • Move on to professional schools such as veterinary medicine, business administration, law, research and teaching
  • Work in dairy product manufacturing, promotion and marketing

Campus Without Borders

Dairy Fellows interact and work with progressive dairy producers, industry leaders and agribusiness professionals. Students tour dairy farms and agribusinesses, getting in-depth and up-close looks at all aspects of dairying - from milk production to milk marketing and product development. The Dairy Fellows perform production and financial analysis of dairy businesses, learning what works on dairies from the professionals who manage them and agribusiness professionals who provide expertise.

Career Preparation

Early in their college career, students are encouraged to pursue internships and international opportunities. Faculty work with the students individually to match them with opportunities unique to their career interest.

International Opportunities

Dairy Fellows are encouraged to participant in exchange programs. The CALS Exchange Program continues to expand opportunities for students around the world. Current students have participated in programs in New Zealand, England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Nepal, and Kenya.

In addition to the formal exchange programs offered through CALS, the Department of Animal Science offers two international courses related to dairy production and management, ANSC 2550 and ANSC 3560. 

Extracurricular Activities

five men in suits and red ties stand in front of a brick wall
Dairy Challenge
a student stands with a cow
a group of five people stand behind a sign holding a plaque

For More Information

To find out more about our program, complete the online Information Request Form.  Interested students are encouraged to visit Ithaca to experience the Dairy Fellows program first hand. Typical visits include an invitation to sit in on current classes, speak with faculty, tour campus, and interact with current students.

General Inquiries:
dairyfellows [at] cornell.edu (dairyfellows)kmc355 [at] cornell.edu (@cornell.edu)
(607) 255-4285

Faculty Director:
Dr. Michael Van Amburgh
mev1 [at] cornell.edu (mev1[at]cornell[dot]edu)
(607) 254-4910