Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance supports two Cornell dairy faculty positions

Group shot of NEAFA leadership an Cornellians
Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance (NEAFA) leadership and Cornellians at the announcement of the faculty renewal gift. Front row: Rick Zimmerman '78, Rick Grant '65, CALS Dean Kathryn J. Boor, Danielle Penney, Bill Colten, John Clark ’80, MBA ’86. Back row: Craig Newton, CALS professor of animal science Tom Overton, Corwin Holtz M.S. ’87, Barry Baetz, Mark Anderson ’68, Ph.D. ’73, and Chip Hyde. Photo: Emma Andrew

By Amanda Garris Ph.D. ‘04

The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance, with support from the feed industry, has raised $1 million to create two new dairy-focused faculty positions in the Department of Animal Science. The alliance, a 300-member trade organization representing animal feed manufacturers and agricultural input suppliers and distributors throughout New England and New York, rallied support from more than 45 businesses and individuals to fund the positions. Organizers see the growth in research capacity as a strategic investment that will benefit dairy scientists, producers and consumers across the region in the coming decades. 

“Creation of two new positions at Cornell is a boost for all the land-grant universities in the region,” said alliance president Rick Grant ’65. “Support from members of the alliance to create these new positions will help farmers in many neighboring states.”

The first position will focus on dairy nutrition and environmental modeling. More specifically, the faculty’s research and extension program will study the biology of nutrient use by dairy cattle and its integration with forage and feeding systems into models that can be used to contribute to improved farm-level environmental sustainability.

“This position is critical for our Northeast dairy farms and allied industries to continue to lead in implementing nutritional strategies that translate to improved environmental stewardship,” said Tom Overton ’91, professor of dairy management and chair of the search committee for this position. “The leadership and commitment that the alliance has demonstrated exemplifies the unique partnership that Cornell faculty and feed industry professionals in the Northeast have forged over many years.” 

The second position will likely focus on fundamental aspects of nutrition and lactation, with an emphasis on dairy cattle. Both hires are part of the Cornell Faculty Renewal Sesquicentennial challenge, a $100 million effort to recruit the next generation of Cornell faculty, by raising funds for salary, startup funds for laboratories, library acquisitions and research stipends.

“We are deeply grateful to the alliance for its incredible commitment to the future of Cornell—and to agriculture in the northeastern United States,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS. “This vote of faith and confidence will pay dividends for decades.”

For a complete list of donors, visit alumni.cals.cornell.edu/neafa