National Dairy Challenge Attracts 223 Students

UW-River Falls team wins first place award; team members win $200 scholarships.

Published on: Apr 16, 2013

More students from more collegiate dairy programs participated in the 2013 national Dairy Challenge, expanded by the first-ever Dairy Challenge Academy. The event was held April 4-6 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

In total, the 2013 event attracted 223 college students from 37 dairy programs across the United States and Canada. Two separate-but-related programs ran in conjunction – the 12th annual Dairy Challenge contest and the new Dairy Challenge Academy. The contest, where university teams compete against one another, included 128 students and 32 universities. The new Academy engaged 95 students from 29 schools, including two-year dairy programs. Both events are coordinated by the host universities and a volunteer Board of Directors of North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC).

National Dairy Challenge Attracts 223 Students
National Dairy Challenge Attracts 223 Students

"In our 12 years, the national and regional Dairy Challenge events have successfully brought together students and professionals for education, networking and exposure," explained Dr. Mike van Amburgh, Vice Chair of NAIDC. "However, the NAIDC Board realized our national contest structure limits the number of students. The Academy was created so more students from more dairy programs could benefit through a national event."

In both the contest and the educational Academy, Dairy Challenge participants work in groups and put textbook knowledge to the ultimate test – consulting for an actual dairy. Students also gain exposure to various dairy careers, network with industry leaders and learn about new technologies and opportunities. Over its 12-year history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare 4000 students for careers in the dairy industry, dairy production and veterinary medicine.

The first evening, students split into smaller groups and were assigned an operating dairy to analyze and provide recommendations to improve profitability. Contest students worked in teams of four, all from the same university, and without the aid of coaches or Internet. Academy participants were assigned to mixed-school groups and guided by volunteer Academy Advisors who coached students in analytical and team-building skills.

Day Two included a walk-through of the assigned dairy, analysis of farm data and question-answer session with farm owners. All groups developed recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management.

On Day Three, students presented their recommendations, visited with sponsor companies at the Career and Innovation Fair, and heard Corporate Technology Presentations. These talks were presented by Jean Conklin, Yankee Farm Credit; Mike Jerred, Cargill Animal Nutrition; Jordan Matthews, Wisconsin dairy producer; Dick Poeppel, Purina Animal Nutrition; Steve Schumacher, Animal Health International and Dave Thorbahn, Select Sires, Inc.

In the contest, the college team presentations were evaluated by a panel of five judges including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. All students, coaches, volunteers and sponsors joined together to celebrate at Saturday evening's banquet.

Top awards
In the contest, first place awards were earned by California Polytechnic State University, South Dakota State University (SDSU), University of Vermont and University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Each first-place team member received a $200 scholarship.

The team from UW-River Falls consisted of Jonathan Hallock, Riley Jolma, Carl Lippert and Elizabeth Simonis, and was coached by Sylvia Kehoe. The Cal Poly team consisted of Mandy Brazil, Micah DeGroot, Erin DeSnayer and David Vander Schaaf, and was coached by Stan Henderson. Representing SDSU team were Cassandra Hulstein, April Johnson, Lael Schoessler and Alisha Vander Wal with coach Ken Kalscheur. The Vermont team included Kaitlin Benoit, Morgen Doane, Andrew Whitney, Melissa Woolper and coach Wanda Emerich.

The following teams and students were awarded second place, with each student earning a $100 scholarship.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville: Tanner Bradley, Sam Enloe, Stephanie Nagel,  Nathalie Schattner and coach Tera Montgomery

Iowa State University: Jordan Hanson, Matt Henkes, Jordan Hunt, Derek Nolan, and coach Lee Kilmer

Penn State: Dakota Grove, Jared Risser, Nathan Ulmer and Hannah Wentworth with coaches Lisa Holden and Gabriella Varga

Virginia Tech: Tyler Boyd, Alli Davis, Isaac Hammock and Elizabeth Sumners with coaches Mark Hanigan and Bob James

Source: National Dairy Challenge