Since the land grant system was signed into law by President Lincoln, dairying and all of agriculture have benefited from a university system that collectively has churned out an ample supply of qualified agriculture graduates. With the changing face of rural America and tightening university budgets, some ag programs face cutbacks or even elimination. That should concern dairy interests as many of those struggling programs, both in production and food science, can be found in the western U.S. that is home to 40 percent of our nation's milk production.
Education is a high-cost proposition, and a dairy education has an even higher burden. Not only does a well-rounded dairy degree require universities to have labor-intensive dairy operations devoid of family labor, it also requires a large land base for forage production and nutrient distribution.