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January 2010

Herbert Kling's bequest aids Mann Library and
bolsters state's milk quality

Growing up on a farm during the Depression, Herbert Kling '36, M.S. '40, got this advice from his parents: "The more we do, the more we lose. So you go to college so we don't even lose more." Kling, who died in July 2009 at the age of 95, once said his parents had great respect for education and were "hell-bent" on sending him and his siblings to college. He went off to Cornell reluctantly, being "sweet on a girl" back home.

His parents were proven wise. As an economist and milk safety expert for more than 30 years, Kling was responsible for the administration of New York state's milk marketing orders, licensing law and the fair trade practices law for milk production statewide.

Herbertand Millie Kling


Herbert Kling and his wife, Millie, pictured at a Cornell luncheon in 1998.

Following his retirement, Kling established a charitable bequest to benefit the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Herbert R. Kling '36 Preservation Department at Mann Library was dedicated when the library reopened in 2007 after extensive renovations. Funding from Kling's estate supports preservation work and other priorities within the library. The estate also provides for the Herbert R. Kling Dairy Markets Assistantship in Food Science to support work on milk quality issues.

Cornell librarian Janet McCue remembers that Kling had an encyclopedic knowledge of the dairy industry. "He could recite milk production statistics for any state in the union and seemingly for any year in the last century," she says. "To keep up with the latest in the dairy industry, Herb and his wife, Millie, visited dairy farms all over the country, and his colleagues throughout the U.S. Department of Agriculture and New York state regularly sent him background on pending legislation."

For 25 years Kling directed the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' Division of Dairy Industry Service. He was a senior economist for New York state's Legislative Commission on Dairy Industry Developments, president of the dairy division of the National Association of Departments of Agriculture, president of the International Association of Milk Control Agencies, and a bank director for 30 years. Kling also was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Kling strongly advocated for the value of state-supported agriculture programs and applied research and knowledge generated at Cornell to benefit dairy farmers and food safety in New York. In 1962, he and the late food science professor Robert Holland decided that milk inspectors needed additional training. They arranged a three-day update during which inspectors could "receive instruction in any subject pertaining to milk processing sanitation." The Dairy Production Specialists Annual Training Course continued for 40 years.

An active Cornellian who served the college as a volunteer leader, Kling served on the Mann Library Campaign Committee, received the 1990 CALS Outstanding Alumni Award and was honored by Cornell as a foremost benefactor in 1998.

To learn more about planned giving opportunities contact Cornell's Office of Trusts, Estates and Gift Planning at 800-481-1865 or e-mail

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