Now majoring in animal science at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Cornell CALS), Swatling aspires to be in dairy management and help improve public understanding of the industry’s sustainable and humane practices. She is one of four undergraduate students who each received $20,000 scholarships ($5,000 per year, per student) this past year through the Chobani Scholars Program, to help them achieve their dairy career ambitions across four years of study.
Established at Cornell University in 2018, the program provides a multi-year scholarship supporting students – now at both Cornell University and the University of Idaho –who have a family connection to dairy farming and plan to pursue their own careers in the dairy industry.
This second class of Cornell CALS Chobani Scholars said, much like last year’s cohort, that being involved in the dairy industry from a young age made them passionate about continuing to learn from and improve it. All four students also expressed a desire to improve public awareness and understanding around animal well-being and sustainable dairy practices.
“Dairy farmers are here to serve the public and want to provide everyone with the best possible products,” said Rachel Van Buren ’24, another scholarship winner. “I hear so many of my peers criticize the dairy industry for the way they treat the land and their animals. There is a growing gap between consumers and dairy farmers, which is frightening. In the last decade, the dairy industry has taken drastic strides to become more environmentally conscious, and it continues to do so. Happy cows are also profitable cows, and farmers aim to improve the comfort and welfare of their cattle every day.”
With deep ties to the New York state dairy industry, Chobani aims to strengthen local communities and invest in the future of dairy farmers.
“The future of dairy matters to us and one of the best ways to help New York farmers is to equip tomorrow’s dairy leaders with the tools they need to thrive,” said Peter McGuinness, Chobani president and chief operating officer. “The Chobani Scholars program is one way that Chobani is investing in the future of dairy in our home state.”
In addition to the scholarship program, the students will have the opportunity to intern with Chobani during their college careers. The organization plans to support a third cohort at Cornell in fall 2021.
“As the nation’s fourth-largest dairy producer, New York state relies greatly on our future generations of dairy leaders to innovate and bolster the industry, said Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Cornell CALS. "We’re grateful to Chobani for its continued support of our students and our New York state farm families. These scholarships help empower our great minds of tomorrow with a truly life-changing education, today.”
Chobani also awards $200,000 annually in grants through its Community Impact Fund to expand economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in central New York, including just over $63,000 in 2020 to Cornell Cooperative Extension Chenango County and the surrounding region to help make farms more profitable and sustainable.
A version of this story also published in the Cornell Chronicle.
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