Junior DAIRY LEADER Program

The Junior DAIRY LEADER program is intended to reach youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who have an interest in exploring careers in the dairy industry through hands-on experiential learning. The future of the dairy industry depends on young people who are well-trained and are excited about the range of opportunities that exist in the industry.

The program presents youth with a realistic view of the dairy industry as a viable, profitable, and progressive business sector, while also building personal and professional skills. Junior DAIRY LEADER participants get real world learning experiences with student and industry interaction through diverse programs.

The program consists of a series of workshops that focus on multiple facets of the dairy industry, personal development and technical skills.


To give young people an opportunity to build enthusiasm for the dairy industry along with personal, professional, and leadership development in a networking environment while they discover the diversity of career choices in agriculture.


  • Expose young people to herd management, crop management, and farm business management techniques on farms in the Northeast and Wisconsin
  • Explore career opportunities through interaction with dairy industry leaders and professionals
  • Enhance teamwork approaches to problem solving
  • Develop and improve communication skills
  • Develop the leadership skills to make positive changes and contributions to the dairy industry and New York State dairy youth programs

Program Information

Thanks to generous support from industry sponsors, the cost for each youth to participate in the Junior DAIRY LEADERS program is $300 for the program year.

Agricultural Tours and Events

  • Represent New York at the National 4-H Dairy Conference
  • World Dairy Expo
  • Interaction with Dairy Producers and Agribusiness Professionals
  • Dairy Farm and Production Facility Tours in the Northeast and Wisconsin
  • Career Exposure

Technical Skill Seminars

  • Herd Health
  • Calf and Heifer Care
  • Artificial Insemination
  • Forage Quality and Nutrition Management
  • Interaction with Dairy Producers and Agribusiness Professionals
  • On-Farm Production Management Experiences

Personal Skill Seminars

  • Leadership Development
  • Team Building
  • Personality Styles
  • Resume Development
  • Self-Challenge
  • Professional Development
  1. At least 16 but not more than 19 years of age by August of the current year and at least starting their junior year in high school in the fall in which the program begins
  2. Have potential interest in dairy industry careers
  3. Can reasonably commit to the program from September of the current year to August of the following year
  4. Are not exhibiting animals at the World Dairy Expo during the current year
  5. Are not participating in the National Dairy Cattle Judging Contest during the current year

Each delegate will be required to evaluate how dairy industry conferences, workshops, and agricultural tours have enhanced the development of their career opportunities in the dairy industry. These reports will be compiled and delivered in an oral presentation to program sponsors, local extension groups, NYS 4-H representatives, dairy industry leaders, agriservice professionals and future dairy interested youth.

Students can apply for both the Junior DAIRY LEADER and the Beginning DAIRY LEADER programs in the same year, however, students cannot participate in both programs in the same year.

The committee will select 20 to 30 of the top applicants by evaluating the quality of written applications, strengths portrayed in letters of recommendation, resume, and personal qualities highlighted in their written essay.

  • Cornell University Department of Animal Science
  • Dehm Associates
  • Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance
  • Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation
  • Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program
  • NYS 4-H Foundation



For More Information

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Deborah Grusenmeyer

Senior Extension Associate

Animal Science


Deborah Grusenmeyer