Sarah Lehner

Sarah Lehner

2018 Undergraduate Award (Ohio)

Thank you so much for awarding me a 2018 Targeting Excellence scholarship. I am truly honored to know that industry professionals like you believe in my ability to succeed as an agricultural student. This award will be instrumental in helping me obtain my degree, make the most of my education, and prepare for my career. I could not be more thankful for your generosity and your commitment to the future of the animal sciences industries.


Delaware, OH


Ohio State University


Animal Sciences

Career Goals:

Growing up on a dairy farm, cattle have always held a special place in my heart. But it wasn’t until I learned to read a sire summary at the age of twelve that my passion for the dairy industry was made complete. I immediately fell in love with genetics, spending nearly every second of my free time analyzing pedigrees, evaluating bull proofs, and planning out matings for each of my animals. It’s only fitting that I pursue a career in the dairy genetics field. After graduating from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences, I hope to pursue a career as a Dairy Sire Analyst. In this position I would seek out superior bulls for artificial insemination collection, ultimately helping farmers improve conservation, increase profitability, and produce higher quantities of higher quality milk. In this day and age, the farmer’s milk check is dependent on far more than just the amount that they produce.
With volatile milk prices, it’s vital that cows can steadily produce not just high quantities of milk, but also milk that’s high in components and low in somatic cell count to maximize bonuses. Profitability isn’t all about production either. Cows with high fertility, feed efficiency, and disease resistance have the power to keep expenses low while also improving sustainability through reduced waste of resources. In my future career I hope to breed and discover phenomenal bulls capable of siring this ideal type of cow. Making these genetics affordable and widely available would benefit not just farmers trying to stay afloat, but the industry as a whole as well. When farms are profitable, farmers are more able to invest in improvements to their operations. This means better times for dairy equipment dealers, nutritionists, builders, and more.
There’s also a variety of genetic-dependent traits that consumers want to see in the dairy industry. Dehorning, for example, is one practice that many consumers worry may cause harm to the animals. Avoiding this practice altogether would help preserve the reputation of the dairy industry, and one way to do that is to breed for polled calves. In addition, traits like A2A2 Beta-Casein are desirable to some consumers and in the future, farmers may be able to earn a premium for A2 milk. As a sire analyst, I may be able to help improve the quality and availability of these genetics. This would make farmers more likely to use them, thus easing the minds of consumers and making A2 milk more widely available.
The dairy industry has had an unfathomable impact on my life, and my greatest ambition is to make real, meaningful contributions to the field that I love. With education, teamwork, and determination I believe I can have a positive impact on the future of the dairy industry through a career as a sire analyst.