Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family have made an immediate gift of $100,000 and an additional pledge of $150,000 contingent on the College securing a US Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for the construction of a Dairy Processing Center on the SUNY Cobleskill campus.

The Center will enhance the College’s capacity to offer experiential education opportunities to its students and crucial business development services to the region’s dairy producers and processors. The immediate gift of $100,000 will serve as critical leverage for other fundraising efforts for the $1.4 million project. The additional pledge of $150,000 will serve as an integral part of the EDA grant application given that private funding is a requirement. The project budget is comprised of private and grant applications, including a New York State Empire State Development (ESD) grant and a US Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant.

Susan Dake, President of the Stewart’s Foundation, was proud to announce the corporation’s involvement. “Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family are committed to giving back to all our shops’ communities whose support has made our company so successful,” she said. “Having our own dairy allows us to provide our customers with the freshest, award winning milk so we recognize the importance of the SUNY Cobleskill initiative to the dairy industry.”

SUNY Cobleskill’s “learn by doing” approach is essential to developing the competencies and creativity needed in today’s ever-changing and complex global food system. At the new facility, students will have the opportunity to work with faculty and industry experts in cheese, yogurt, fluid milk and ice-cream manufacturing processes. The Center will also be a shared processing space for the region’s dairy producers and will provide a venue for offering a wide variety of technical assistance services and end-user education for NY dairy producers and processors.

SUNY Cobleskill’s Acting President, Dr. Debra H. Thatcher, recognizes the significance of the gift from Stewart’s Foundation. “We are honored that Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family have demonstrated confidence in SUNY Cobleskill’s vision for an educational dairy processing center that will serve both our students and the community. This gift generously supports SUNY Cobleskill’s role as a leader in agricultural education and as a partner with the agricultural community.”

The addition of a Dairy Processing Center to the campus enhances existing education facilities for agricultural education. SUNY Cobleskill’s 700+-acre campus farm currently includes a 200-cow

contemporary free stall dairy, a USDA-inspected meat laboratory, an equine complex, and a fully equipped agricultural engineering technology facility.