The Western Dairy Center is housed at Utah State University.
The new director of the WDC, Eric Bastian, said it operates as a “virtual center” with researchers at USU, Washington State, Oregon State, BYU and Idaho.
“In effect,” Bastian said, “what we’re doing is taking dairy farmer checkoff promotional money and using it to do dairy research regionally, wherever we can find faculty researchers who are interested in working on dairy products.”
In an effort to develop more candidates to become dairy scientists, Bastian and other leaders in regional dairy created the BUILD dairy program.
“BUILD is an acronym,” Bastian explained. “It stands for Building University and Industry Linkages for Learning and Discovery and it is designed for workforce development for the dairy industry in those technical areas. So, when these kids get done with their program, they can come and work in a variety of roles within the companies.”
Bastian said he is confident that future dairy leaders developing now in the BUILD Dairy Program within the Western Dairy Center will be the new innovators in the dairy industry.
Eric Bastian was born in central Utah and raised on a dairy farm. He earned his education at Utah State University with a B.S. degree in Dairy Science, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nutrition and Food Sciences.