What is your connection to dairy farming?
My grandfather came to the United States from Austria around 1960 looking for work on a farm, and eventually he saved enough money to buy the family farm in Fabius. I spent the majority of my childhood on the farm, helping where I could and exploring. When I was nine, I joined the local 4-H club, Eastern Valley, and started showing cows. I enjoyed it immensely and the year after I started showing rabbits too. The club itself is based out of Venture Farms, which is a 1,000-cow dairy about five minutes from where I grew up. As a result of my time in 4-H, I received the Henry Thomas Calf Scholarship in 2017 and started my own herd of dairy cattle. In 2018, I decided to show at the New York State Fair for the first time, where I met my boss, Kevin Ziemba. My involvement with 4-H also enabled me to apply for the Beginner Dairy Leadership and Junior Dairy Leader groups through Cornell. I wouldn’t be a part of the Cornell community if I hadn’t started 4-H all those years ago.
Why is it important to you to pursue a career in the industry?
The dairy industry has been a large part of my life and I am very passionate about it. Helping improve the future of the dairy industry is my way of giving back to the industry that has given me so much.
Do you plan to intern with Chobani? If so, what will you be doing? What do you hope to gain from that experience?
I’m not sure if I will end up interning with Chobani. Currently, I’m hoping to intern at a breeding facility. But if I do end up interning with Chobani, I would be interested in learning about the customer service side of the business.
What do you think is important for others to know about the dairy industry?
I think it’s important for others to know how much time and effort farmers put into their products. People don’t have the same connections to farms and farmers as they once did, and if society on its current trajectory, future generations will not understand a fraction of what consumers know today.
How has CALS shaped your understanding of animal science/dairy management?
Through CALS, I have been able to meet more people with my same interests and I continue to do so.
Header image: Cassandra Wilbur ‘23 Photo by Allison Usavage
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