The Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance, with strong support from its feed industry members, raised $1 million to fund two new faculty positions in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University. Generous donations from 45 businesses and individuals allowed the Alliance to double its original goal of $500,000, successfully creating the opportunity for two positions.
The fundraising effort was part of the Cornell Faculty Renewal Sesquicentennial Challenge, a $100 million effort to recruit the next generation of Cornell faculty – both emerging "stars" as well as distinguished senior faculty. Funds raised through the work of the Alliance will be matched by Cornell to support the two positions.
"This tremendous accomplishment is a reflection of the confidence our industry has in the future of the northeast dairy industry,” said Dr. Rick Grant, Alliance president. “When Dr. Tom Overton of Cornell approached our board to provide leadership for funding of a faculty position in dairy cattle nutrition and environmental modeling, we were pleased to help."
"We are deeply grateful to the Alliance for its incredible commitment to the future of Cornell – and of agriculture in the Northeastern U.S.,” said Dr. Kathryn Boor, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This vote of faith and confidence will pay dividends for decades."
The Alliance tapped long-time dairy industry leaders, Dr. Charlie Sniffen and John Mitchell, to lead the effort. "We knew the feed industry would step up to strengthen dairy nutrition research at Cornell," Sniffen said. "Funding two positions confirms the industry's positive view to the future of northeast dairy farming."
A search – led by Overton – is underway for the first faculty position.
"Cornell has worked with the Alliance to develop a job description that meets the needs of the northeast dairy industry and will attract a strong candidate pool for this vital new position in the Department of Animal Science," Overton said.
Work has also started on drafting the job description for the second position that will focus on more basic aspects of nutrition and lactation, with an emphasis on dairy cattle.
Support of land grant colleges is part of the Alliance mission of education, collaboration, and advocacy on behalf of northeast agriculture. Companies and individuals from New York and the northeast contributed to the campaign.
"Creation of two new positions at Cornell is a boost for all the land grant universities in the region," said Grant, noting research conducted at Cornell applies to dairy production throughout the northeast. "Support from members of the Alliance to create these new positions will help farmers in many neighboring states."
The Alliance is a 300-member trade organization representing animal feed manufacturers and agricultural input suppliers and distributors throughout New England and New York. The mission of the Alliance is to speak with a collective voice and advocate for members and animal agriculture in New York and the six New England states.