UW-Madison’s Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences sent eight students to the 2022 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge, hosted by Purdue University, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University February 16-18 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Representing UW at the competition were Gaelan Combs, Verona, Wis., Ryan Gehin, Baraboo, Wis., Josh Gerbitz, Milton, Wis., Kelsey Maurer, Newton, Wis., Marcus Schroepfer, Birnamwood, Wis., Colin Uecker, Watertown, Wis., Matt Verhasselt, Kaukauna, Wis. and William Zeimet, Cottage Grove, Wis. Ted Halbach, UW-Madison faculty instructor in dairy management coached the students.
The team consisting of Combs, Maurer, Uecker and Zeimet earned a second-place finish on their farm.
Starting on the first day, students were given the opportunity to attend breakout sessions on animal welfare, robotic technology, feed management, and sustainability. Later, they received farm management records for their assigned dairy to analyze and utilize in the presentation they would be building over the next few days. The students were able to meet with their teammates and an industry mentor over dinner to brainstorm their ideas about the farm’s management and practices.
On day two the students traveled to Superior Dairy of Garrett, Ind. for an on-site farm management audit. Students were given the chance to walk through the farm with an industry mentor and evaluate the different parts of each operation including calf care, robot management, transition pens, feed management, and more. Additionally, students were given the opportunity to ask the producers questions about their farm to gain clarity and unique insights on what they had observed. In the afternoon students took their gathered information and began to build their farm presentations.
On the final day, the students gave their recommendations to a panel of dairy industry professionals in the form of a 20-minute presentation. The students covered strengths and areas of opportunity for their respective farm. While results were being calculated, students had the opportunity to network with companies that were event sponsors.
NAIDC is an innovative event for students in dairy programs at North American post-secondary institutions. Its mission is to develop tomorrow’s dairy leaders and enhance the progress of the dairy industry, by providing education, communication and networking among students, producers, and agribusiness and university personnel. The 2022 National Dairy Challenge contest, hosted by UW-Madison, Fox Valley Technical College and the Midwest Regional Planning Committee will be held in Green Bay, Wis. from March 31 to April 2; details can be found at www.dairychallenge.org.
The University of Wisconsin Foundation’s David P. Dickson Student Activity Fund and Rosy-Lane Holsteins, LLC sponsored the UW Dairy Challenge team’s travel.This article was posted in News, Uncategorized.