Twenty-nine New York Junior DAIRY LEADERS, representing 17 counties, will graduate at Empire Farm Days on August 12 at 1:30 pm in the Dairy Profit Seminar Center.

Junior DAIRY LEADER Program Coordinator Deborah Grusenmeyer and Assistant Coordinator Betsey Howland, both with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program, will welcome families and visitors to the graduation that includes a presentation of the program year by the 29 graduating members, and recognition of the 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class sponsors.

The Cornell PRO-DAIRY Junior DAIRY LEADER is a statewide program for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 with an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the dairy industry and gaining hands-on experience in the field.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER graduation ceremony at Empire Farm Days gives young people the opportunity to highlight their year-long experiences and demonstrate to visitors, family, friends, agribusiness professionals, and educators the dynamic aspect of dairy education and career options.

The Junior DAIRY LEADER Program begins in September with a seven day trip to Madison, WI, to tour dairies and agribusinesses, followed by attending the annual National 4-H Dairy Conference. Throughout the year, class members participate in eight workshops, focusing on team building, personality styles, resume development, change, and leadership skills development, as well as facets of dairy production, tours, and exposure to numerous career options in the dairy field.

Hands-on workshops offer learning opportunities on specific facets of the dairy industry, including veterinary science, dairy nutrition, production management, and on-farm production analysis, plus interaction with dairy producers, industry professionals, and other dairy-interested young people. Building communication and leadership skills enhanced by a team approach to problem solving adds to the Junior DAIRY LEADERS’ personal and professional development.

The 2015 sponsors of the Junior DAIRY LEADERS program are PRO-DAIRY, the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Professional Dairy Producers Association, DEHM Associates, SHUR-GAIN USA, Genex-CRI, Select Sire Power, Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance, New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and the Cornell University Department of Animal Science, and New York’s dairy producers.

The 2015 Junior DAIRY LEADER class members are:
. Chautauqua County: Justin Dye, Trenton Meeder
. Columbia County: Benjamin Gardner, Courtney Dearnley, Emily Ooms
. Delaware County: Dylan Walley
. Erie County: Natalie Strub, Zane Hubbard
. Genesee County: Thatcher Mowry, Kayla Wormuth
. Jefferson County: Krystle Burger, Joshua Chisholm
. Lewis County: Harley Hancock
. Montgomery County: Justin Ryan
. Oneida County: Stephanie Finn, Andrew Smith
. Ontario County: Jacob Maslyn, Thomas Mueller, Alfredo Resendiz-Rojo, Robin Smithling
. Otsego County: Rachel Stone
. Rensselaer County: Lindsey McMahon
. Schoharie County: Eric Bates
. Tompkins County: Brian Lampman
. Washington County: Margaret Brownell, Kaylah Gulley
. Wayne County: Jessica Skellie
. Wyoming County: Emily Lampson, Katie Sondericker.

Featured image: New York Junior DAIRY LEADER Class of 2015; photo: Deborah Grusenmeyer