Badger Dairy Challenge Set for October 23-24

Sara Harn analyzes standard operating procedures for milking at the 2014 Badger Dairy Challenge.

Despite their intense Border Battle clashes on the athletic field, dairy science students from UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota will join forces as teammates for this year’s third annual Badger Dairy Challenge. This is the first time students from another university will participate in Department of Dairy Science’s farm management competition.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 23-24 at two Madison-area dairy farms and the UW campus.

Industry and university professionals developed Dairy Challenge as a practical, on-farm learning opportunity for students. Working in four or five-person teams, students observe and assess all aspects of a working dairy farm and present their recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges made up of dairy professionals. The format allows students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained from their course work, labs, and internship opportunities to a real-world setting.

The Badger Dairy Challenge is an initiative of Ted Halbach, a dairy science faculty associate in dairy management. While the regional and national competitions limit the number of students who can compete, Badger Dairy Challenge is open to any student who is enrolled or has completed a dairy management course at either campus.

“After graduating, students often find that it’s actually a pretty small world when it comes to rubbing shoulders with peers and other industry professionals,” says Halbach. “Dairy Challenge, especially when teams are made up of students from both schools like they will be at our event, is an unbelievable team building and networking opportunity.”

He adds that the event gives employers — such as nutrition companies, A.I. firms, and other businesses — visibility among talented students. The benefits are two-fold: students learn about the companies and potential jobs and the companies get access to well-trained and specialized students from land-grant universities like UW-Madison and Minnesota.

Sponsors are needed to defray student costs to participate. For additional information or to donate contact Halbach by phone at (608) 219-5289 or email at