Helping Youth Explore Careers in Dairy

Mentoring dairy youth has been a flagship program area since the inception of PRO-DAIRY and is critical to build the next generation of farm owners and managers. The Junior DAIRY LEADER and Beginning DAIRY LEADER year-long programs help high school students explore colleges and careers in the agriculture industry, while encouraging personal growth and leadership. PRO-DAIRY also supports Dairy Discovery, Animal Crackers, and other statewide 4H Dairy programs.


Each year, 30 youth, ages 16 to 19, are selected from a rigorous application process to participate in a year of experiential learning in the dairy field and self-discovery.

Junior Dairy Leader is a huge exposure tool. It’s a hook to get youth excited about the industry and opens their eyes to the possibilities, so you’re getting the best and brightest staying in the industry. Labor is desperately short. JDL recruits and retains young kids in agriculture. We need them, to hire them, and for them to become the next generation of leaders in the industry.
John Mueller, Willow Bend Farm, whose son Thomas, daughter Molly, and several farm employees have graduated from the program.

NYS Beginning DAIRY LEADER Program

Other Dairy Youth Programs

students in white stand in line with cows
4-H Youth Programs
a student looks through a scope
Animal Crackers
people sit around a table working on projects

For More Information

profile picture of deborah grusenmeyer
Deborah Grusenmeyer

Senior Extension Associate

Animal Science


Deborah Grusenmeyer