UW-Madison doctoral student receives national dairy scholarship

A Cleveland native and University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral student has won one of two National Dairy Leadership Scholarships awarded this summer.

Robb Bender, a Ph.D. candidate in dairy science, received the scholarship for his research on using statistical process control to integrate nutritional data in real-time analysis on commercial dairy farms.

“My fondest childhood memories involve growing up on a family dairy farm in Wisconsin,” Bender says. “Upon entering the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I knew that Dairy Science was my intended major.”

Modern dairies utilize a variety of data streams regarding things like milk quality, reproduction and feed management. Bender’s research aims to integrate this information to allow producers to quickly discover when a process shows too much variability and should be changed.

“Decision making on modern dairies still appears to be largely reactionary, such as responding to a sudden change in milk production, rather than proactively looking at trends of data in a real-time analysis,” Bender says. “The main focus of my Ph.D. research is to further delve into the field of precision agriculture by integrating data streams on-farm in an effort to create real-time economic decision-making tools focused on proactive, preventative troubleshooting of potential problems.

The scholarship, awarded by the National Milk Producers Federation, has provided funding for Bender to continue his research and possibly attend conferences in the future.

NMPF is the oldest farm commodity organization in the country and develops policies that advance the wellbeing of dairy producers and cooperatives.

The organization offers annual scholarships to graduate students pursuing dairy-related fields of research. For more information, visit http://www.nmpf.org.