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Herbert Kling: Milk Economist and Safety Expert

By Diane Lebo Wallace

Herbert Kling

Herbert Kling and his wife, Millie.

Growing up on a farm during the Depression, Herbert Kling ’36, MS ’40 got this advice from his parents: “The more we do, the more we lose. So you go to college so we don’t lose even more.” So he went off to Cornell reluctantly, being “sweet on a girl.”

His parents were proven wise. An economist and milk safety expert for more than 30 years, the late Herbert 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.

Cornell librarian Janet McCue remembers that Herbert 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, Herbert Kling served as the director of 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. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army.

An active Cornellian, he 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.

The Herbert R. Kling ’36 Preservation Department at Mann Library was dedicated when the library reopened after renovations. Funding from his estate supports preservation work and other library priorities. The estate also provided for The Herbert R. Kling Dairy Markets Assistantship in Food Science to support work on milk quality issues.
Herbert Kling died in July 2009 at the age of 95. Even during his last years, he remained an avid correspondent with college leaders and made occasional visits to Cornell with his wife, Mildred Kling.