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July 2008

MSU Takes Top Honors at National Dairy Challenge

Miriam Weber Nielsen
Dept. of Animal Science

Michigan State University undergraduates with an interest in dairy competed in three Dairy Challenge contests during the winter and spring, culminating in a win for MSU at the 7th annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) in Madison, Wisconsin on April 4-5, 2008. The students at freshman through senior levels combined their skills, knowledge and passion for dairy to work together on teams to evaluate dairy farm management.

In addition to MSU, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois and Purdue University each won platinum awards at this year’s national contest as Big 10 universities took home first-place finishes in each farm division. Members of the first place teams each received a $200 scholarship.

Members of the team representing MSU were animal science juniors Christine Hadley, of Niles; Ashley Messing, Bad Axe; and Laura Zeldenrust, Fremont; and animal science senior Andrew Reinker, Horton. The team was coached by MSU animal science professors Herb Bucholtz and Miriam Weber Nielsen, animal science doctoral student Marcus Hollmann and agricultural economics doctoral student Nicole Olynk. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this year’s competition attracted a record 32 teams representing dairy-related programs at universities across the United States and Canada.

All undergraduates with an interest in dairy are invited and encouraged to participate in the MSU Dairy Challenge in the fall. Participants in the MSU Dairy Challenge are invited to attend the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge. The 4-person team to compete in the NAIDC is selected by the judges of the MSU Dairy Challenge.

The innovative competition tests students’ skills and knowledge of all aspects of a dairy business in an interactive, educational and challenging event. It encourages students to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy farm, while working as part of a team.

Day 1 of the Dairy Challenge begins with each team receiving selected farm records and then walking through the farm operation. After the farm visit, each team has the opportunity to interview the farm manager. Then, each team completes a farm analysis and develops a presentation with recommendations for herd management. Day 2 is presentation day, when teams present their recommendations to a panel of judges. Students field questions from the judges, and then receive oral feedback from the judges on their presentation. Presentations are evaluated by the judges, and the day concludes with placing of the teams and presentation of awards.
Twenty-five undergraduates participated in the MSU Dairy Challenge last fall, which featured an advanced division for students who have taken courses in dairy nutrition or advanced dairy management, and a new novice division. The contest farm was owned by Harry, Gene and Gary Sanborn in Hubbardston. The winning undergraduate team in the advanced division received $200 each and consisted of Ashley Messing, Matt Freechack (animal science senior, Eden Prairie, Minnesota), and Kimberly Sabo (animal science senior, Eastpointe). The second-place team received $100 each and was comprised of Laura Zeldenrust, Christine Hadley, and Kimberly Aebig (animal science senior, Montague).The team placing third and receiving $50 each was Kayla Kreh (animal science junior, Kinde), Andrew Reinker and Amanda Vlietstra (animal science senior, Kalamazoo). The winning teams in the novice division received gift cards: 1st place, $100 each—Gail Carpenter (animal science junior, Dansville), Jenna Kramer (dairy management freshman, Harbor Beach), Nick Leipprandt (dairy management freshman, Caseville), and Benjamin Wenner (animal science and agribusiness management sophomore, Ohio); 2nd place, $50 each—Nicole Beeching (animal science junior, Lawrence), Lindsey First (animal science junior, Ionia), Autumn Sieffert (agribusiness management junior, Grawn), and Jenna Taylor (dairy management freshman, Stockbridge); 3rd place, $25 each—Eric Carson (dairy management freshman, Hesperia), Charles Hood (dairy management freshman, Paw Paw), Bill Huisjen (dairy management freshman, Fremont), and Adam Lewis (dairy management freshman, Jonesville); 4th place—Krista Beeker (animal science sophomore, Constantine), Baylee Drown (animal science junior, Cedar Springs), Courtney Huff (animal science senior, North Branch), and Kayla Stomack (animal science junior, Minden City).

Fourteen students represented MSU at the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge January 31 – February 2, 2008 in Merrillville, Indiana. The regional Dairy Challenge events mix students from different schools on 5-person teams to focus on development of skills in teamwork in addition to dairy management. Participants from MSU included Nicole Beeching, Andre Bruinsma (dairy management sophomore, Morenci), Brad Curtis (agribusiness management senior, Williamston), Johan deGroot (dairy management sophomore, Indiana), Lindsey First, Christine Hadley, Rebecca Hale (dairy management sophomore, Brown City), Mike Hattis (dairy management sophomore, Fowler), Kayla Kreh, Joe Pasch (animal science sophomore, Weidman), Kayla Stomack, Katelyn Thompson (animal science junior, Charlotte), Greg Thon (dairy management sophomore, Kingsley), and Laura Zeldenrust.

Cargill Animal Nutrition and the Halbert Family’s Frederick Pierce Halbert Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund provide major financial support for MSU’s Dairy Challenge activities. Appreciation is extended to Sanborn Dairy Farm; Bill Earley and Dr. Rod Friesen, ADM Alliance Animal Nutrition and Daniel Lindquist, Harvey Milling, for working with Sanborns to host the MSU Dairy Challenge. The generous donation of time and effort by the MSU Dairy Challenge judges is sincerely appreciated: Bill Earley, ADM Alliance Nutrition; Dr. Chuck Jamison,Cargill Animal Nutrition; Dr. Kevin Jeffers, Sterner Veterinary Clinic; and Nicole Olynk, MSU Department of Agricultural Economics. Special thanks go to Dr. Herb Bucholtz and Marcus Hollmann, MSU Animal Science; and Dean Ross, MSU Extension Dairy Educator for help in coordinating the MSU Dairy Challenge.

Generous support from Dairy Challenge sponsors makes the MSU, regional and national Dairy Challenge events possible. More information on the regional and national Dairy Challenge events and a listing of corporate sponsors is available at <http://www.dairychallenge.org>.





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