Life scientists provide valuable contributions to society. Dairy scientist Jonathan White, makes his contribution
in many ways: unique quality services, keeping old ways alive, and by gathering and spreading knowledge in his field, or fields.
Along with the high quality cheese and bread from Mr. Whites Bobolink Dairy on the Vernon/Warwick border between
New Jersey and New York, comes some exciting methods. Some of these can be simpler than they seem. When Mr. White was asked
what special equipment is needed he answered, Happy, healthy cows eating grass. The high quality in all his cheeses comes
from cows that only eat grass, which is what nature intended for them. Because no grain is involved in the cows feeding, very
little antibiotics are used, which means no chemicals in the cows milk. Better quality milk means better quality cheeses.
New developments in my field of science have gone in the wrong direction, in the production end and animal
end, says Mr. White, all the new stuff makes Velveeta. The new developments, Mr. White says, have to be about discovering
old ways. The 20th century is about making more milk out of the same cows and finding faster, cheaper ways to make cheese,
he states. The old ways are valuable. He says, Keeping the cows longer, keeping the cows healthier is something people in
the 20th century dont seem to care about anymore. If our cows stop producing as much for us anymore we dont care ~ it doesn't
cost us anything to keep them. The dairy farmers that feed their cows grain, when their cows stop producing as much milk,
they cant afford to keep them. Those cows go to McDonalds.
Mr. White not only makes cheese here he shares his knowledge of cheese with others around the world.
In 2001 I took a trip to Tibet to teach the Tibetans how to make cheese, he says. They had no historical records
of cheese making in their culture because they had never needed to. In other cultures cheese was created to store protein
for the winter. During the summer in Tibet, the yaks gorge themselves on the grass and produce a rich milk. During the winter
1/3 of the yaks starve to death, and the Tibetans eat them. Starved animals have plenty of protein, but no fat. The Tibetans
needed cheese to store fat and to sell for money. They need the money to pay for shoes.
Right here at Bobolink Dairy he also teaches cheese making. He has interns every summer and right now he has
two students from Japan for a semester, and a Polish student is coming next summer.
Mr. White thinks going into agriculture is at the bottom of peoples lists of what they want to be when they
grow up but thats because its different than what they think it is.
Id like to suggest that if you dont like the way agriculture is, you can reinvent it, he says. Those are the
people we need to go into farming. The adventurers who are willing to reinvent it. Places like Cornell and Rutgers say that
theyll send their students here to learn about dairy history ~ I say no, this is dairy future.