This month Cornell, Ithaca, N.Y., and the International Dairy Foods Association, Washington, D.C., announced their NextGEN Dairy Network partnership. The two organizations have developed a series of training opportunities for dairy professionals with less than 15 years in the industry.

“As dairy companies continue to grow and their operations evolve, one of the most critical requirements is to create a strong pool of dairy professionals who are prepared to fill senior-level management positions in their companies and in our member organizations,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.

The first joint program will be the NextGEN Symposium, Oct. 6 to 8, at Cornell University. The symposium is limited to 50 participants, and registration is now open. For more information and to register, visit NextGen Symposium.

The symposium will feature exposure to the dairy industry from production to processing to supply chain distribution and is designed to enhance personal and professional networking, increase self-awareness, and improve leadership skills in a way that can drive change within an organization.

OSU, Quality Chekd educate dairy personnel in food safety, equipment operation

Quality Chekd Dairies, a membership organization of dairy and beverage processing companies based in Lisle, Ill., has run training programs for years for its members. President Peter W. Horvath realized that the association’s training programs were relevant to any dairy processor, not just its members.

In the years since 1985, when the association started investing in training programs, Quality Chekd has built up a lot of equity in the programs, Horvath said. It was time to put that equity to work and take the knowledge to a larger audience. “The natural inclination was to look at academia,” he said.

Horvath knew Valente Alvarez, a professor in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Alvarez had worked on a project for Quality Chekd in South America. That relationship eventually led to the two organizations forming their partnership. See the web page "Dairy Training and Certification Program" for a list of dates and classes.

It has advantages for both parties. Quality Chekd creates an income stream beyond membership dues and Ohio State University can build its reputation as a leading dairy institution for teaching and research. The two organizations share costs and revenues.

Ohio State gives Quality Chekd “an anchor” for its training, Horvath said, adding that his organization will still offer programs on the West Coast and at other locations around the country.

The university has a lot to offer, including a strong food science program, two pilot plants (for dairy products and food products), laboratories, a working dairy farm and a dairy economics program. OSU draws on all of these resources to teach eight technical workshops in Columbus. Besides the classrooms in the Parker Food Science Building, workshops and meetings can be held in lecture halls and ballrooms throughout the campus. The university also operates The Blackwell, a full-service business-class hotel and conference center on campus.

OSU faculty and adjunct instructors (including experts from Masterleo Inc. and Silliker) teach the eight-course “Dairy Training and Certification Program” using materials developed by Quality Chekd. The program consists of “Dairy 101” (covering the handling and processing of milk, from the farm to receiving and from manufacturing to the consumer); a dairy laboratory methods workshop, hands-on dairy equipment operation; dairy and juice HACCP; two high-temperature/short-time (HTST) pasteurization workshops; an introduction to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance; and an advanced CIP cleaning and sanitation program.