Animal science major Lucas Walley ’24, originally from Walton, New York, is one of four CALS undergraduate students to be awarded a 2020 Chobani Scholarship. Interested in herd management, he’s aiming to work hands-on with dairy cows and be able to make decisions to push the progress of a herd and the industry forward. In addition to his studies, he’s been working at his family farm, milking 45 certified, grass-fed organic dairy cows. After college, his goal is to assume a role as a farm herd manager and hopes to someday own his own herd. He credits his interest and knowledge of the dairy industry with experience on the family farm, summer internship at Lincoln Dairy in Auburn New York, and membership in the NY Junior Dairy Leaders, 4H and FFA. Along with his five siblings, he enjoys working on the farm, showing cows and playing golf. Here, he shares more about his roots and student experience.
What is your connection to dairy farming?
I have worked on my family farm since I was kid, where I helped my father with chores and running the herd. I also enjoyed participating in 4-H activities such as showing cows at local, state and national fairs, Dairy Quiz Bowl, Dairy Judging and gardening. Over the summer of 2020, I interned at Lincoln Dairy in Auburn, New York, (owned by Dan Osborne) where they milk 4500 cows. I learned a lot about large-scale agriculture!
Why is it important to you to pursue a career in the industry?
It is important for me because the industry needs more involvement from younger, progressive dairy people who will push agriculture to meet the needs of future consumers and industry demands, while innovating operations and practices to create breakthroughs in production.
What do you think is important for others to know about the dairy industry?
It is important to spread awareness of the dairy industry and its operations because for the first time in the history of domesticated animals, dairy products have come under increased speculation and questioning. As the disconnect between consumers and producers continues to grow, the dairy industry needs more people who are willing to communicate the message and reassure consumers that dairy is not only a product with superior nutrition compared to other alternatives, but is also a very sustainable industry.
How has CALS shaped your understanding of animal science and dairy management?
CALS has shaped my understanding of animal science and dairy management by helping me understand a more worldly view of the dairy industry and its impact across the globe. CALS has also helped me to further my understanding of specific areas of dairy that I’m interested in and connected me with a network of agriculture professionals who are always willing to help and answer any questions.
What experience has been most meaningful to you during your first year at Cornell?
The most meaningful experience for me has been the amount of support that professors and staff have offered throughout the year and trying to make the most of the situation while utilizing limited resources. I was very grateful we were able to have an on campus experience all year.
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