Cornell Dairy Executive Program

Setting the Foundation to Grow the Success of Your Dairy Business

Cornell Dairy Executive Program (CDEP) is a multi-session executive level management training program to improve business management skills over two one-week programs in a year. CDEP offers dairy producers and managers in related agribusiness opportunities to develop and strengthen skills in business management and leadership.

    [CDEP] has impacted my business by providing me the tools to be a better manager and communicator.
    Jon Beller, Class 12, New York


    Who Should Attend?

    CDEP is designed for progressive managers in dairy production who have five or more years of dairy experience in a decision making position, access to financial data, and are committed to a career in the dairy business. Business owners and managers affiliated with dairy production who are committed to working with their customers and improving their business and the industry are also welcome to apply.

      What Will I Learn?

      Timely topics in dairy business management are presented by a team of national experts from within and outside of the field of agriculture in two multi-day sessions. Program content focuses on four different areas within the dairy business: business planning, financial management, human resource management and risk management.

      After attending this program, you will have developed:

      • A comprehensive self-evaluation of your business
      • 1- and 5-year strategic business plans
      • Leadership and management skills
      • A network of dairy executives
      • A plan for building business relationships

      Program Outline

      Presentations in leadership and management principles are presented in multi-day sessions which build upon each other. When accepted to this program, the expectation is that each class participant will complete all three sessions within the same enrollment year.

      • Human Resource Management I
        • Assessing Your Management Style
        • Leadership
        • Employee Engagement
        • Communication
      • Financial Management I
        • Ratio Analysis
        • Ratio Relationships
        • Trends
        • Market Value versus Cost Basis
      • Thinking Like a CEO
      • Strategic Thinking
      • Lean Systems
      • Compensation
      • Embracing Change and Servant Leadership
      • Milk Pricing
      • Time Management
      • Family Business Management
        • Family and Business Mission
        • Communication and Relationships
        • Ownership versus Management
        • Family Business Transition
        • Estate and Succession Planning
      • Human Resource Management II
        • Recruiting, Interviewing and Onboarding
        • Managing Managers
        • Managing Multiple Sites
        • Rising Labor Costs - Strategies and Approaches
      • Financial Management II
        • Tracking Performance
        • CFO Responsibilities
      • Dairy Price Risk Management
      • Effective Negotiations

      A Typical Day

      A typical day includes presentations, individual study, small group discussions, informal discussions, and round-table discussions with faculty. Class size is limited to 30 people to maximize the small group interaction and peer to peer learning.

      Session Times

      With a fully-packed agenda and the importance of group interaction to the program, participants are expected to spend the entire time at the conference center, including overnight lodging.

      Each session begins on Sunday afternoon and concludes on Thursday by 3:30 PM.  Daily programming begins with breakfast and concludes at 9:00 PM.

      Class Size

      Class size is limited to 30 people to maximize small group interactions and peer to peer learning. Qualified applicants will be selected in the order which applications are received and notified on the first of the month following the date the application was received.

      Program Fees & Application

      Enrollment is limited to 30 individuals. Applications must be received by January 1. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Qualified applicants will be selected in the order of receipt of the application, and notified on the first of the month following the date the application was received.

      Class 15 Fees

      Total program cost

      $5,650 per person single occupancy
      $5,100 per person double occupancy (applies to individuals from the same business)

      Early Bird Discount

      Apply before November 1 and receive a discount of $300 per person

      The program fee includes all meals, refreshment breaks, lodging, parking, and program materials for each of the program sessions. The program fee does NOT include lodging prior to the first day of the program or on the evening of the last day of the program during each session, expenses associated with traveling to and from the facility or other personal incidental expenses.


      The program fee is paid in two installments, although you may choose to pay the program fee in one installment.

      If application is submitted by November 1:

      Amount Due

      Single Occupancy

      Double Occupancy

      At time of application



      By November 1



      By December 1



      Total Program Fee




      If application is submitted after November 1:

      Amount Due

      Single Occupancy

      Double Occupancy

      At time of application



      By December 1



      By January 1



      Total Program Fee





      $500 (minimum) due at the time of application. If applicant is accepted into the program, the deposit is applied to the program fee selected. After September 30, the first payment of program fee is due upon application.

      Refund Policies

      • Upon acceptance into the program, the $500 deposit becomes non-refundable. If an applicant is not suited for the program, the applicant will receive a refund of the $500 deposit by the method in which payment was submitted.
      • In the event that the applicant is unable to attend the program, notification of withdrawal from the program must be submitted in writing by November 15 to qualify for a 100 percent refund of any payments made, less the $500 deposit.
      • Cancellations received after November 15 and before Exec 1 starts will qualify for a 30 percent refund of the first installment less the $500 deposit plus 100 percent of any additional payments made, due to expenses that the program cannot recover.
      • If withdrawal from the program occurs after the Exec 1 session is completed, no refund of the first payment or deposit will be given. If the participant will not attend the Exec 2 session, the participant will receive a refund of 25 percent of the second installment amount.
      • Substitutions may be made up to three weeks before the start of the Exec 1 program, subject to the approval of the program director. Any substitutions thereafter should be discussed directly with the program director.

      Equal Opportunity Statement

      It is the policy of Cornell University to actively support equality of educational and employment opportunity. No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or handicap.

      Travel and Accommodations

      CDEP is held at The Statler Hotel on the Cornell University campus. The program fee includes lodging expenses for one each of the main days of the program. Additional nights of lodging prior to the first day of the program or on the evening of the last day are the responsibility of the participant.

      Participants are responsible for their own travel costs to arrive in Ithaca.  The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport (ITH) is the closest airport to campus and a complimentary hotel shuttle is available. Lodging and shuttle arrangements will be made by our office.

      Having attending CDEP forces me to expand my outlook from just day-to-day tasks and management to big picture, longer-term thinking and how to tie it all together.
      Michael Barnum, Class 12, British Columbia


      Program History

      PRO-DAIRY has provided basic education in management principles since its inception in the early 1990’s. With the increasing competitiveness of the dairy industry, a second level of advanced educational programs was requested by producers as their roles and challenges continued to change on their farms in response to the rapidly changing dairy industry.

      Modeled after the TEPAP program started by Dr, Danny Klinefelter and designed specifically for dairy producers, the Cornell Dairy Executive Program was developed to provide professional, cutting-edge management training for progressive dairy producers in New York and across the country. The first class took place in 2000 to 2001 with these producers encouragement and challenge.

      The following people have played a key role in serving on committees to develop the curriculum for the program and guide the program through the development process.


      [CDEP] has helped me organize my workforce to be more efficient and productive.
      Mark Murray, Class 11, New York

      For More Information

      Heather Darrow, Conference Coordinator
      Phone: (607) 255-4478
      E-Mail: hh96 [at]

      Jason Karszes, Director, Cornell Dairy Executive Program
      Phone: (607) 227-0694
      E-mail: jk57 [at]

      Total farm management, networking, and learning are instrumental in driving my business forward. CDEP helps accomplish that.
      Keith Chapin, Class 11, New York