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Preparing for a career in the dairy industry

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Posted on August 1, 2017 by Sarah Fenwick '18, animal science major, dairy science and agribusiness dual-minor.

Courtesy: Sarah Fenwick '18 Sarah Fenwick '18 at her internship.

Merriam-Webster defines “passion” as an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” I use this word to describe my feelings toward the dairy industry. As I continue my studies at Delaware Valley University, I have always felt at a disadvantage because I didn’t grow up on a dairy farm, or any farm for that matter. This feeling has pushed me to work harder in school and gain as much knowledge and experience as I can. Being an intern at Cedar Lane has helped me gain dairy experience, for which, I could not be more thankful.  Cedar Lane Farm is a Johnson Family operation located in Oldwick, New Jersey where I am lucky enough to have an internship. 

Cedar Lane is known as the home of Milk & Honey Genetics, built by J. Seward Johnson, from a line of prize Holsteins.  J.S. Johnson became intrigued with breeding Registered Holsteins from research being done at Rutgers University by Dr. J.W. Bartlett and his staff. The research was conducted by Dr. Bartlett at the Rutgers Dairy Research Farm of the New Jersey Experiment Station (NJES), which was formed in 1931 to research nutrition and breeding to increase butterfat. In 1938, J.S. Johnson became very involved with the first organized artificial insemination (AI) stud in the U.S., located in Central Jersey, by giving bulls of his own breeding and bulls he had purchased, to the stud.

The dairy facility is an educational breeding facility where I began to expand my knowledge about dairy cows and the industry. I have had the pleasure to work with top notch show cows and have traveled to numerous shows with the farm. Through these experiences, I have had the opportunity to work with industry professionals. In addition to working on the farm, I traveled to Boonsboro, Maryland to observe the flushing of a show cow. I am working with Stephen Halahan from Cargill Nutrition and Bill Taylor of Cedar Lane to measure the dry matters of the corn silage in an ag bag and the haylage in a silo. With my dry matter findings, I am keeping track of important details that may change the moisture content of the feed. It is vital to have proper moisture content and dry matter content in the feed so that rations are balanced properly and the cows receive proper nutrition. In addition to watching the superior genetics grow throughout the herd, I also participate in crop harvesting of grass hay and alfalfa haylage and pay close attention to milk quality to ensure healthy cows and a healthy product.  I have had opportunities at Cedar Lane Farm that have allowed me to gain outstanding dairy experience and I look forward to building my knowledge through my future work in the industry.

About the Author:

Sarah Fenwick '18 is an animal science major at Delaware Valley University who is completing a dual-minor in agribusiness and dairy science. On campus, she is involved in clubs and organizations including: Delta Tau Alpha Agricultural Honor Society, Sigma Alpha and Dairy Society.