Profile: David Hall
David Hall is a dairyman by trade and also by tradition. Before Hall took on responsibilities of MSU's Edward W. Custer Dairy Processing Plant manager nearly 15 years ago, his father preceded him in the same role for 20 years.
Although Hall's father raised him with a love of dairy, it was his alma mater that taught him the profession. The same dairy facility Hall now operates is the one he worked in as an MSU dairy science student. The same Herzer Hall floors he walks now with the expertise to oversee production of milk, ice cream, and the university's famous cheeses, are where he first took classes from Dr. Charles White, who later was the department head who hired Hall to follow in his father's footsteps.
After graduating from MSU in 1987 with a bachelor's degree, Hall worked for Luvel Dairy Products in Kosciusko, Kraft Foods in Atlanta, Dean Foods in Memphis and Coleman Dairy in Little Rock before moving back to his hometown of Starkville.
"There's not any difference in this and any other dairy in the country," he said, adding that the dairy science program has well prepared students for their careers in industry after graduation. "This plant is a tremendously valuable asset."
The daily demand of running the dairy keeps things interesting, Hall said. Operating under the umbrella of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the self-supporting auxiliary unit produces more than 320,000 pounds of cheese each year, as well as 45,000 units of milk, 63,000 cups of ice cream and 700 cups of butter.
Hall said he enjoys being involved in every aspect of production, from hiring and ordering to quality control and accounting.
Besides the enjoyment of his work, Hall said he enjoys taking pride in such an important symbol of the university.
"You can't talk to anybody that's a part of Mississippi State who does not know about our cheese," he said. The dairy also has frequent media requests, and has even appeared on Food Network.
"We get a lot of publicity in a positive way for the university. It's special being a part of that," Hall said.
This year, the dairy is celebrating a milestone special occasion with its 75th anniversary.
The dairy is increasingly getting to be a part of special occasions for MSU alumni. Hall said a growing trend at wedding receptions is offering single-serving sizes of MSU ice cream with their accompanying wooden spoons.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Beth Wynn
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