The 2013 winners of the John Brandt Memorial Foundation scholarship, awarded annually by the Land O'Lakes Foundation, are Robb Bender and Angelica Gutierrez.
Bender, a student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received the scholarship for his doctoral work in dairy farm management. Bender is evaluating the potential for improving feed efficiency and reducing feeding costs by developing methods that integrate live streams of data from feed intake, milk production and body weight of the dairy cows.
"Modern, progressive dairy farms currently utilize a wide array of data streams coming from many sources," said Bender. "Decision making still appears to be largely reactionary. By integrating data streams, dairy farms can take advantage of real-time tools focused on a proactive approach to troubleshooting potential problems in their operation."
Gutierrez, a student at Iowa State University, received the award for her work researching the food chemistry of milk. Her master's research focuses on the mechanisms of spontaneous oxidation in milk, or an "off" flavoring of milk caused by a chemical reaction between oxygen and the fatty acids found in milk. Her research will identify the factors that contribute to this reaction and include an analytical method to predict if milk will be susceptible to spontaneous oxidation.
"Milk oxidation is a very complex topic, and it's a problem that affects dairy producers and manufacturers regularly," said Gutierrez. "Since the origins of spontaneous oxidation in milk are not entirely clear and cannot be recreated in a laboratory, my research will focus on more common causes, such as light exposure and metal-induced oxidation. My findings will shed light on how the dairy industry can better control milk quality and off-flavor formation so that consumers can have a consistently fresh and clean-tasting milk consumption experience."
The John Brandt Memorial Foundation scholarship program supports graduate students pursuing work in dairy animal, food science or agribusiness at one of four eligible institutions: Iowa State University, South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The scholarships are awarded in memory of John Brandt, an industry organizer who formed and remained president of Land O'Lakes until his death in 1953. The Land O'Lakes Foundation awards one or two $25,000 scholarships each year to students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and aptitude toward their field of study.
Those interested in applying for the John Brandt Memorial Foundation scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year can find more information at www.landolakesinc.com/company/corporateresponsibility/foundation. Applications for the 2014-2015 school year will be accepted after March 1, 2014.