Dean’s Message

periodiCALS, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2016

Kathryn Boor
Kathryn J. Boor. Photo by Jason Koski

Dairy cows have been on Cornell’s campus since the university’s very beginning, when our campus was largely a cluster of buildings on what is now the Arts Quad. 

In fact, along the north wall of Goldwin Smith Hall—former home to the dairy department—a bas-relief carving honors the tools invented in 1890 by Cornell instructor and dairy chemist Stephen Moulton Babcock to standardize the density and butterfat of milk as a means of ensuring the wholesome quality of consumer dairy products. While much has changed in the dairy industry since the university’s founding, critical research and extension work in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences continues to help ensure that dairy products are delicious, properly manufactured and safe to eat. However, the means by which we accomplish these ends have certainly evolved over the years. Our researchers use cutting-edge technology in the barn, field and lab to keep our dairy work “moo-ving” forward.

This issue’s feature story describes new, innovative tools, such as crop sensors and DNA fingerprinting methods, which have been developed and used by our faculty to shape the future of dairy production and processing. Our researchers are making tremendous strides in improving not just the quantity of milk production but the quality of it as well. The milk tastes better, the cows are healthier, and the environmental impact of milk production is greatly reduced. 

Elsewhere in this issue you will read how grape expert Terry Bates is using sensor technology to modernize vineyards and help grape growers across the country to make more informed decisions. Work in Maureen Hanson’s lab also looks to the future, engineering the fundamental process of photosynthesis with the ultimate goal of making plants more efficient at generating food, feed and fuel. You will also read about how CALS is making a difference both locally and globally in a pair of articles about honey bee health in New York and landscape design to address coastal flooding in the Philippines.

Our researchers’ embrace of game-changing technology is enabling us to make even greater impacts in areas where CALS has long excelled. Such innovation in key disciplines allows us to stay true to our roots while evolving to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges. I am so proud of the contributions that CALS is making both here in New York and around the globe. And, as always, I am excited about sharing our stories with you.

Kathryn J. Boor
Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences