UW-Madison Students Participate in Midwest Dairy Challenge

Caption: Left to right: Ted Halbach, coach, Megan Opperman, Rockford, IL., Charles Hamilton, Cuba City, Wis., Courtney McCourt, Saint Cloud, Wis., Bethany Dado, Amery, Wis., and Megan Lauber, Union Grove, Wis.

Caption: Left to right: Ted Halbach, coach, Megan Opperman, Rockford, IL., Charles Hamilton, Cuba City, Wis., Courtney McCourt, Saint Cloud, Wis., Bethany Dado, Amery, Wis., and Megan Lauber, Union Grove, Wis.

UW-Madison students were among dairy students from 16 schools in 10 states that participated at the recent Midwest Dairy Challenge, February 17-19, 2016, in Platteville, Wisconsin. Dairy Challenge® is a management contest that incorporates analysis of all phases of a specific dairy business for students planning a career in the dairy industry.

The Midwest event, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Southwest Technical College, is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC). These regional contests – plus a national event for about 300 dairy students – are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers. Over its 15-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare nearly 5,000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.

At the Midwest Dairy Challenge, students are placed on a composite teams that collectively must put their textbook knowledge to the ultimate test – providing solutions for a dairy. Teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and interview farm owners. Then each team develops recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health and housing to help the farm optimize performance and profitability. Teams then present their recommendations to farm owners – while being evaluated by a panel of five judges including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. In addition to this consulting competition, students gain an excellent opportunity for networking and education.

Next year’s Midwest Dairy Challenge will be hosted by UW-Madison on February 8-10. More details will be available in the coming months.