The Department of Dairy Science offers the chance to study in a small, internationally recognized department that specializes in offering research, travel and competitive opportunities to our students.  We invite you to bring your interest in animals and let us prepare you for an exciting career in a dynamic industry with a major that has a 100% placement of graduating seniors.

What's New?

Check out the latest Dairy Judging 101 videos by Dr. Katharine Knowlton and members of the Virginia Tech Judging Team!  Visit YouTube Channel:  Virginia Tech Dairy Cattle Judging for more judging videos!

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Dairy Judging 101: Judging heifers, Part 3 (size)   

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Dairy Judging 101 Practice Class A1

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Dairy Judging 101 Practice Classes: Brown Swiss 4 year olds

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Dairy Judging 101: Placings and notes for J2

Catherine Parsons, Dairy Science Laboratory Specialist, named Employee of the Month!


Catherine’s nominators praised her work ethic and dedication.

“…Cathy upholds the university motto of Ut prosim… Cathy is known for her encouragement, caring, and helpfulness. Cathy ensures that the lab group’s research is at its highest caliber. Even when people stumble and make mistakes, she views it as a learning opportunity for everyone involved.  Cathy is consistently one of the first to volunteer to help in the “off” hours to ensure graduate students have the help they need to perform and finish tasks. Even during 15°F weather, Cathy is out at the dairy farm with a smile on her face, spreading contagious enthusiasm about the work that is being done and why it is so important.”

As the October Employee of the Month, Catherine received a plaque, gifts from the college, has her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2017-18 Employee of the Year award.


The Virginia Tech Dairy Judging Team scores at the Big E and Pennsylvania All American Dairy Show!

Eastern States Exposition:
B team - (Katelyn Allen, Emma Currie, Sandra Krone, Nikki Long) 1st team overall, 4th team reasons. Emma 3rd high individual, Sandra 7th high individual)
A team - (Cortney Hostetter, Blake Smith, Kayla Umbel, Hannah Van Dyk) 2nd team overall, 1st team reasons. Cortney 4th high individual and 4th in reasons, Kayla 5th high individual and 2nd in reasons, Hannah 3rd in reasons)

Pennsylvania All American Dairy Show:
A team- 5th overall, 2nd team reasons. Hannah Van Dyk 1st in reasons, 2nd overall. Cortney Hostetter 2nd in reasons, 9th overall. (B team doesn’t compete at Harrisburg.)

Teams A and B at the Big E. A and B team at the Big E front row- Cortney Hostetter, Emma Currie, Kayla Umbel back row-Blake Smith, Katelyn Allen, Sandra Krone, Hannah Van Dyk, Nikki Long
A and B team at the Big E front row - Cortney Hostetter, Emma Currie, Kayla Umbel back row-Blake Smith, Katelyn Allen, Sandra Krone, Hannah Van Dyk, Nikki Long.
Dairy Judging Team posing with a Holstein sculpture in Harrisburg, PA.
A and B teams at Harrisburg, PA - (L-R) Kayla Umbel, Cortney Hostetter, Blake Smith, Hannah Van Dyk, Nikki Long, Emma Currie, Katelyn Allen, and teaching assistant Kathryn Wright. (Not pictured: Sandra Krone.)
Dairy Judging Teams with Dr. Katharine Knowlton, posing with Holstein sculpture.
Dairy Judging Teams with Dr. Katharine Knowlton.
Hannah Van Dyk and Dr. Katharine Knowlton Hannah was 1st in Reasons at the Pennsylvania All American Dairy Show.
Hannah Van Dyk and Dr. Katharine Knowlton, coach. Hannah was 1st in Reasons at the Pennsylvania All American Dairy Show.

Super Senior Student Spotlight

Mikayla Bailey, a Spring 2017 graduate has been very active in the department and worked at the VT Dairy Farm during her time here.

The spotlights are written by Annemarie Bresson as part of a DASC Public Relations course.

Whitney Bowman of Mount Jackson, Virginia,  named Department of Dairy Science Outstanding Senior

Whitney Bowman is obtaining dual degrees in Dairy Science and Animal and Poultry Sciences. Throughout her career at Virginia Tech, Bowman has remained committed to sharing her passion for agriculture. During her internship at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C., Bowman developed education programs for AFBF members across the country. As a state officer for the Virginia FFA Association, she presented education workshops and attended Farmers’, Women’s, and other state-wide conferences. These experiences beyond Virginia Tech strengthened Bowman’s leadership skills and enabled her to excel as a Resident Advisor, Dairy Science Student Ambassador, and Missions Team Leader in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. After graduation, Bowman plans to continue her passion for teaching by working in agricultural education.  

Photo of Whitney Bowman
Whitney Bowman named Dairy Science Outstanding Senior
Spotlight on Whitney Bowman
Dairy Science Spotlight on Whitney Bowman

Kari Estes nominated for Outstanding Graduate Student - MS

Kari Estes, a fall 2016 graduate of the Department of Dairy Science, started her research studies as an undergraduate student volunteer. Her contributions to the laboratory resulted in several publications including one from her undergraduate work, another from her work between degrees, and two that she prepared from graduate work. She also has a popular press article drafted which will be submitted to a major trade publication after the scientific work is published. In 2016, Estes also presented her research at the International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition in Poland. She has also been active in Phi Sigma and served as a teaching assistant.

Kari Estes

Dr.  Adam Geiger selected as CALS Outstanding Doctoral Student

Adam Geiger, the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Award winner, began his graduate career in the Department of Dairy Science as a Pratt Fellow in 2013.

In addition to his course work and dissertation research, Geiger served in the Graduate Teaching Scholars program and assisted with course development, published articles in two peer-reviewed journals, co-authored articles for two more journals, presented his research domestically and internationally and even got married and had a son.

Through publications in the Dairy Pipeline and Virginia Dairyman as well as a presentation on basic cow nutrition to fourth graders, he contributed to the Extension mission of the department.

Geiger’s publication and scholarship record includes five refereed journal articles published or accepted, five journal articles in review or in preparation, 21 peer reviewed, published abstracts of presentation at professional meetings (most meetings of the American Dairy Science Association), and 19 extension, newsletter, or popular press articles. Interestingly, one of his articles, published in Hoard’s Dairyman was translated into Spanish for wider distribution.

Adam Geiger
Dr. Adam Geiger is the awarded Outstanding Graduate (Ph.D), by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Candidates are nominated from all departments with doctoral programs within the college and face intense competition.

Spotlight on ISC Alumna Carrie Ceh...

ISC alumna Carrie Ceh is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Dairy Science studying rumen development in calves with Dr. Kristy Daniels.  Read the interview here.


VT Challenge Team  wins 1st Place for Farm B at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge & Academy in Visalia, CA! Pictured left to right:  Co-Coach, Dr. Alex White, Linda Beckett, Whitney Bowman, MK Jones, Daniel Comyn. Not pictured: Dr. Gonzalo Ferreira, co-coach.


2017 Virginia Tech Dairy Challenge Team

Dr. Ben Corl
Interim Department Head

Upcoming Graduate Seminar

April 19, 2018

Speaker: Dr. Joe McFadden
Topic: Ceramide as an Antagonist of Insulin Action: A Pathological Discovery with Implications for Maternal Physiology

200 Litton-Reaves Hall
4:00 p.m.

Dean's List
Fall 2017

Katelyn Allen
David Ames
Amber Burch
Skylar Cochrane
Daniel Comyn
Carly Crutchfield
Emma Currie
Nicole Hardy
Lydia Harrison
Tanner Hodges
Cortney Hostetter
Shelby Iager
Mary Kennedy
Sandra Krone
Andrew Laffey
Bailey McGill
Hunter McManus
Christina Tayo Oduyelu
Connor Rudd
Erin Saacke
Meleah Shadler
Carly Shaw
Courtney Smith
Nicole Sterba
Kayla Umbel
Caleb Van Buren
Hannah Van Dyk
Rebecca Wilkins

Get Involved...

(Left to Right): James Comstock, Kelly Leatherman, Austin Robbins, Lucas DeBlois, Coach Mark Hanigan

2017 Virginia Tech Dairy Challenge Team