Lucas Moser, Dansville, earned the top ranking in the senior division of the Michigan Youth Dairy Days dairy cattle judging contest for the second year in a row. This feat is a first for a Michigan youth. Moser, as the high individual overall in the senior division, received the George M. Robb Memorial Award.
Moser beat out second place senior division contestant Garrett Slavik, of Ashley (Gratiot Co.), by one point, who in turn had a one-point advantage over the third place senior division finisher, Megan Filhart, of Rosebush (Isabella Co.).
The dairy cattle judging contest was one of several educational contests held during Michigan Youth Dairy Days, an annual dairy youth activity held in conjunction with Michigan Dairy Expo. The 16th annual expo took place July 16–20 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing.
Youth are eligible to compete in one of three age divisions in the dairy cattle judging contest: novice, junior or senior. Participants in the senior category – for young people ages 15 to 21 – evaluated the conformation of eight classes of dairy animals (four animals in each class) and presented three sets of oral reasons. Evaluation scores were tallied according to how closely the contestant's placing matched the judges' official placing. In the oral reasons presentation, comparable to making a defense case in court, judges assign individual scores to each contestant based on how well the young person can justify his reasons for placing the cows in the order he did. Contestants can earn a total of 50 points in both the evaluation and oral reasons parts of the contest.
Individuals compete against one another with the shared goal of placing among the top 25, which earns them a chance to vie for one of 12 positions on the state's traveling youth dairy cattle judging teams. These teams will compete at three national contests in the fall – the All-American in Harrisburg, Pa., World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., and the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville, Ky.
The Michigan Youth Dairy Days dairy cattle judging contest is just the first step in what will be a series of intensive workouts and independent practices to earn a spot on one of the teams. This year approximately 150 youth participated in the dairy judging contest.
Rounding out the top 25 in the senior division of the dairy cattle judging contest, in chronological order, were:
Kailey Sweers, Williamston (Ingham Co.)
Timothy Frahm, Frankenmuth (Saginaw Co.)
Zeke Breuninger, Dexter (Washtenaw Co.)
Hayleigh Geurink, Allendale (Ottawa Co.)
Jay Luoma, East LeRoy (Calhoun Co.)
Kelvin Webster, Laingsburg (Clinton Co.)
Natalie Horning, Manchester (Washtenaw Co.)
Kayla Holsten, Milan (Washtenaw Co.)
Kelly Raterink, Zeeland (Ottawa Co.)
Marshall Wixom, Bloomingdale (Allegan Co.)
Megan Bush, Swartz Creek (Genesee Co.)
Heather VanLieu, Quincy (Branch Co.)
Suzanna Hull, North Adams (Hillsdale Co.)
Annabeth Musolf, Dansville (Ingham Co.)
C.J. Shearer, Hudsonville (Ottawa Co.)
Mark Gilbert, Chelsea (Washtenaw Co.)
Ryan Hall, Charlotte (Eaton Co.)
Hannah Poling, Addison (Hillsdale Co.)
Kayle Jakus, St. Johns (Clinton Co.)
Cole Wixom, Bloomingdale (Allegan Co.)
Rachel Hicks, St. Johns (Clinton Co.)
Morgan Pish, Quincy (Branch Co.)
In the team category, the joint team representing Ingham and Calhoun counties placed first. Team members included: Jay Luoma, East LeRoy; Lucas Moser, Dansville; Annabeth Musolf, Dansville; and Kailey Sweers, Williamston. The Washtenaw County team placed second with team members: Zeke Breuninger, Dexter; Mark Gilbert, Chelsea; Kayla Holsten, Milan; and Natalie Horning, Manchester. In third place was the joint team representing Gratiot, Saginaw and Shiawassee counties, including: Gabe Bennett, New Lothrup; Timothy and Bryce Frahm, Frankenmuth; and Garrett Slavik, Ashley.
Ottawa County placed fourth. Team members were: Hayleigh Geurink, Allendale; Kelly Raterink, Zeeland; C.J. Shearer, Hudsonville; and Hannah Troupe, Allendale. In fifth place, was the team from Hillsdale, Ionia and Isabella counties, including: Kelsey Dennings, TOWN; Megan Filhart, Rosebush; Suzanna Hull, North Adams; and Hannah Poling, Addison.
As the youth-centered portion of the Michigan Dairy Expo, the largest annual dairy event in the state, Youth Dairy Days offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various educational activities, including dairy quiz bowls, dairy management contests, dairy cattle judging competitions and the Dairy Days youth show. This year more than 200 youth from around the state participated in one or more of the educational competitions, and winners may go on to represent Michigan in national competitions.
For more information about the Michigan dairy youth program at MSU or Michigan Dairy Expo, visit www.MIdairyyouth.ans.msu.edu, or contact Dr. Joe Domecq at 517-353-7855.
The 2013 Michigan Dairy Expo and Michigan Youth Dairy Days are scheduled for July 15-19 at MSU.