Seventh Annual Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge

US - More than 120 students from 11 northeast colleges and two Canadian universities participated in the seventh annual Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge in Glen Falls, New York.
calendar icon 16 November 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The State University of New York at Cobleskill welcomed students from Alfred State College, Cornell University, Delaware Valley College, Morrisville State College, The Pennsylvania State University, SUNY Cobleskill, University of Maine, University of Maryland, University of New Hampshire, University of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, University of Guelph from Ontario, Canada, and McGill University from Quebec, Canada.

The Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge is an innovative three-day event designed by a team of industry and university professionals to promote a vibrant future for the dairy industry. Working in mixed-university teams of four or five students, contestants assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and presented recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and participating farm families.

The objective of this evaluation process is to create a real-life situation that stresses the importance of teamwork and professionalism. Contest superintendent Jenny Mills of Elanco Animal Health explained, “The dairy industry requires employees that can work well with all types of personalities. Not only does the Dairy Challenge teach technical knowledge, it excels in assisting students in developing people skills.”

Teams traveled to one of three host farms to evaluate cows, facilities, and management practices. Host farms were Hanehan Family Dairy, Turning Point Dairy of Saratoga Springs and Clear Echo Farm of Schuylerville. After a two-hour farm visit, teams returned to the Queensbury Hotel to analyse their data and develop recommendations for improvement. Each team prepared a 20-minute presentation that detailed their observations and suggestions.

On the final day, each team presented their evaluation and recommendations to a panel of industry judges. Teams were ranked as platinum, gold, or silver based on how well their evaluations matched the judges’ evaluations of the dairy operation.

Alfred State University will host the 2010 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge. If you have questions about next year’s contest, contact Dorothea Fitzsimmons of Alfred State University at [email protected] or Jenny Mills of Elanco Animal Health at [email protected].

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