Empowering the next generation of dairy producers starts with knowledge, education, and experience. The Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania provides cross-curricular lesson series, educational programming, on-farm internships, and scholarship opportunities for students of all ages.

The financial burden to attend college is straining, especially for families in the agriculture industry that have seen their net farm income slashed in half in recent years. Financial support is among the greatest support mechanisms to be offered to a student who is pursuing higher education to further cultivate the food industry. The scholarship provided through the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association had an immense impact on my education in contributing toward my studies at Penn State to achieve a bachelor’s degree in food science. Through the scholarship, I was able to focus more on scholarly studies and hands-on experiences that gave me the knowledge base to apply for the dairy processing plant.

Simon Itle - Plant Manager, Vale Wood Farms

Our programs include:

  • Discover Dairy – This program is an engaging, interactive, multi-level lesson series that shows upper elementary and middle school students where milk comes from and how dairy farmers contribute to our communities. More than 40,000 teachers are enrolled in the Discover Dairy program.
  • Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow – Designed specifically to prepare high school students to work in the dairy industry, this program provides dairy business and herd management courses to high school educators and students interested in a dairy production career. More than 700 educators are enrolled in the DLT program.
  • On-Farm Internships – The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association and Dairy Excellence Foundation offer $3,000 grants for farms and students to participate in a 10-12 week on-farm internship program, intended to provide on-farm learning experiences to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania.
  • Scholarship Opportunities – The Dairy Excellence Foundation offers a wide variety of scholarships for students and beginning farmers to pursue higher education or to grow their dairy management skill set. 

The Dairy Excellence Foundation also supports programs and organizations across the industry that help our youth gain relevant experience in the dairy industry and develop future career goals.

  • Oregon Dairy Day Designed to promote the value of modern agriculture, Oregon Dairy Days and Family Farm Days help increase awareness of the important role our farms have in the community. Families receive an educational, firsthand experience at a working dairy farm through tractor and wagon rides, tours of the barn and milking facilities, and samples of Oregon Dairy products.
  • Altoona & Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD) Career Days – Each year, middle school students from Altoona and Blair County learn about the wide range of careers available in the agriculture industry. They rotate through various career stations, such as animals, crops and management, to gain a firsthand look at the future of the dairy industry.

  • Dairy Challenge – The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge gives college-level dairy science students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-world dairy setting. Students work in teams to evaluate a real-life dairy operation’s production and farm management data before presenting recommendations to a panel of judges. Each year, the event helps prepare the next generation to serve the dairy industry in the future.
  • All-American Dairy Show – The All-American Dairy Show features dairy cattle and exhibitors across the United States and Canada. It also gives youth the opportunity to get involved in the industry through four days of youth shows, contests, and programs.

  • All-American Junior Management Contest – As part of the annual All-American Dairy Show, the Junior Dairy Management Contest was established to give 4-H and FFA students—the dairy producers of the future—the opportunity to test their dairy management knowledge, evaluate animals, and gain experience with evaluation and decision-making.
  • Cornerstone Dairy Academy™ – Designed for professionals and producers who are interested in enhancing their leadership skills, Cornerstone Dairy Academy is a two-day event to help motivate the next generation.