MSU Earns Honors at National Dairy Challenge
Miriam Weber Nielsen
Dept. of Animal Science
|North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge: (left to right) Brad Curtis, Nicole Beeching, Jessica Fry, and Lindsey First at the National Dairy Challenge in Syracuse, NY.
The eighth annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) was held in Syracuse, NY on March 27-28, 2009. The contest presented Michigan State University undergraduates the opportunity to evaluate dairy farm management. As a result of their perseverance and dedication, MSU students achieved a gold placing at this event.
Members of the team representing MSU were animal science seniors Nicole Beeching, Lawrence; Lindsey First, Ionia; Jessica Fry, Blanchard; and agribusiness management senior Brad Curtis, Williamston.
The team was coached by animal science professors Herb Bucholtz and Miriam Weber Nielsen, dairy academic specialist Elizabeth Karcher, animal science doctoral student Marcus Hollmann, and agricultural economics doctoral student Nicole Olynk. Cornell University hosted this year’s competition, which attracted 31 universities from across the United States and Canada.
The Big Ten conference excelled this year receiving all four of the first-place platinum awards. These prestigious awards were given to University of Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue University, University of Minnesota, and The Ohio State University. Each member of the platinum teams received a plaque and $200 scholarship.
Michigan Dairy Challenge
The MSU Dairy Challenge is held in the fall and all undergraduate students with an interest in dairy are encouraged to participate. The event is designed to be similar to the national contest. From participants in the MSU Dairy Challenge, two 4-person teams are selected. One team competes in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge and the other team competes in the NAIDC.
The competition offers an environment that tests the students’ knowledge of the dairy industry in a fun and educational setting. One of the most important aspects of the Challenge is enhancing students’ ability to work as members of a team.
Day one of the two-day competition begins with each team receiving a packet of information on the dairy they will visit that day. Each packet includes production and farm management data. After a visit to the dairy and an interview with farm personnel, team members work together to develop a comprehensive program that includes recommendations for herd management. Students are challenged to not only identify potential areas of improvement, but also to prioritize these areas.
On day two, teams present their recommendations to a panel of judges. Students must field questions from each of the judges.
Equally important in the learning process is the oral feedback provided by the panel of judges. The evening concludes with a banquet and presentation of awards.
Fifty-six undergraduate students participated in the MSU Dairy Challenge last fall. The advanced division consisted of seven teams and the novice division had eight teams.
Students in the advanced division must have completed courses in dairy nutrition or advanced dairy management. The contest farm was owned by Dennis and Doris Tubergen of Ionia.
Members of the winning team in the advanced division received $150 each and consisted of Brad Curtis, Nikki Edgecombe (veterinary technology junior, Jenison), Greta Koebel (agribusiness management senior, Three Oaks), and Joao Paulo Martins (animal science master’s student, Brazil).
Members of the second-place team received $75 each and consisted of Lindsey First, Jessica Fry, Charlie Kunisch (animal science sophomore, Jeddo), and Jackie Rowley (animal science junior, Richmond).
Members of the team placing third and receiving $25 each were Jody Bugaiski (animal science senior, North Street), Gail Carpenter (animal science junior, Dansville), Natasha Lower (animal science junior, Battle Creek), and Lyndsay Stakenas (animal science junior, Free Soil).
Members of the winning team in the novice division received $25 each and consisted of Michelle Dawes (animal science sophomore, Saranac), Joe Pasch, (animal science junior, Weidman), Brice Stine (crop and soil sciences junior, Ubly), and Erica Wines (animal science junior, Richland).
Members of the second-place team received $25 each and was comprised of Jillian Holdwick (animal science sophomore, Harbor Beach), Rosemary Rice (animal science sophomore, Filion), James Weber (dairy management freshman, Vassar), and Eric Westendorp (dairy management freshman, Nashville).
Four students represented MSU at the fifth annual Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge. The event was held January 29-31, 2009 in Rochester, MN and included 69 students from 15 universities and colleges. The design of the Midwest Regional is unique in that students are placed on 5-person teams with students from other colleges and universities. Participants from MSU included Joe Pasch, Jackie Rowley, Kayla Stomack (animal science senior, Minden City), and Jaimie Strickland (animal science senior, Lansing).
Financial support for the MSU Dairy Challenge was graciously provided by Cargill Animal Nutrition, Vita Plus, and the Frederick P. Halbert Dairy Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund. Thank you to the Tubergen Dairy Farm and Matt Wood and Ken Casebere, Vita Plus, for working with the Tubergens to host the MSU Dairy Challenge.
The time and effort by the MSU Dairy Challenge judges is greatly appreciated: Julie Ainsworth, NorthStar Cooperative Inc.; Dr. Herb Bucholtz, MSU Animal Science; Dr. Tony Ellis, Countyline Veterinary Clinic; Dr. Chuck Jamison, Cargill Animal Nutrition; Dr. Richard Pursley, MSU Animal Science; Phil Taylor, MSU Extension Dairy Educator; Dr. Jon Townsend, Land O’ Lakes/Purina Feed; and, Matt Wood, Vita Plus.
Special thanks go to Marcus Hollmann, Lindsey DeVries, Olivia Genther, MSU Animal Science; Dean Ross, MSU Extension Dairy Educator; and Doug Brook, NorthStar Cooperative for help in coordinating the MSU Dairy Challenge.
The support from all of the Dairy Challenge sponsors makes the MSU, regional, and national Dairy Challenge events possible. Additional information on the regional and national Dairy Challenge events and a listing of corporate sponsors is available at www.dairychallenge.org.
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