EAST LANSING, MI – Five students representing Michigan State University (MSU) competed recently in the eighth annual Midwest Dairy Challenge in Manitowoc, WI.
The MSU students – all majoring in animal science – were: sophomore Joshua Garver, White Pigeon; sophomore Samantha Mamarow, Saline; sophomore Bethany Oglesby, Elgin, Ill.; junior Kristen Saunders, Lansing; and freshman Brittni Tucker, Elsie.
Team members were selected based on individual performance results at the MSU Dairy Challenge held in December, in which students of any class level or background could participate.
Other schools who participated in the Midwest Dairy Challenge were: Chippewa Valley Technical College, Dordt College, Fox Valley Technical College, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Lakeshore Technical College, Northeast Iowa Community College, the Ohio State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course.
In the recent Midwest contest, students were randomly assigned to work together in five-person teams composed of students representing different institutions. Each group of students was asked to assess the same working dairy farm and present recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and the farm owners.
The practical hands-on exercise offered students invaluable experience that included applying knowledge they had learned in the classroom and learning how to effectively work with others to solve a problem. Networking one-on-one with industry representatives also fostered opportunities for students to meet and talk with potential future employers.
MSU student Mamarow was a member of the first place Platinum team. She competed on a five-member team along with: Ben Thorpe, University of Minnesota; Alaina VanWesten, Northeast Iowa Community College; Trisha Blaser, University of Wisconsin-River Falls; and Sara McCullough, Purdue University.
The other MSU students were members of teams which placed third (Joshua Garver), fourth (Bethany Oglesby), fifth (Kristen Saunders) and eighth (Brittni Tucker). A total of 16 teams competed in the 2013 contest.
The North American Dairy Challenge was originally established as a management contest that incorporated all phases of a specific dairy business. The first contest was held at MSU in 2002.
The first regional contest (northeast) was added to the program in 2003, and since then three more regional events have been added (Midwest, Western and Southern).
The program strives to couple a higher-learning atmosphere and practical application of knowledge learned in the classroom to generate the next generation of qualified dairy industry graduates and leaders. The North American Dairy Challenge is supported financially through generous donations by industry and coordinated by a volunteer board of directors.
For more information about MSU participation in the MSU Dairy Challenge, the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge or the National Dairy Challenge, contact Dr. Miriam Weber Nielsen in the MSU Department of Animal Science at 517-432-5443.
Source: Farmers Advance