North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge Team

North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge is a two-day competition that enables four-person teams to evaluate a well-managed dairy farm business and then recommend management enhancements to a panel of judges comprised of industry and academic professionals. This has become the premier dairy event in the country for undergraduate students. Dairy industry leaders recognize that this contest attracts the top students from every major undergraduate dairy program in the US and Canada. This competitive format not only lets students show their skills, but also provides the opportunity to network with industry people who are looking for students interested in careers in the dairy industry.

2021 First Place UW-Madison Team

Dairy students with senior standing and juniors accepted into Vet School vie for one of four spots to represent UW-Madison at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge National Contest held annually in late March or early April.  To be eligible, students must be enrolled in DYSCI 375: Intercollegiate Dairy Comp 2 during the spring semester.  All students enrolled in the class are offered an opportunity to compete at the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge in early February.  Students with junior standing can participate at the Dairy Challenge Academy which is held in conjunction with the national contest.

Teams from 36 universities participate in the national contest each year. UW-Madison has achieved a record of excellence in prior NAIDC National Contests. Team selection is competitive.  Travel, hotel and meals are covered by the UW Foundation’s David P. Dickson Student Activity Fund and the NAIDC.

Why would students want to participate?

  • Visit local dairy farms and gain knowledge of different farms’ management practices
  • Evaluate herd records, and utilize knowledge of dairy herd management software and computer presentation tools
  • Critically evaluate dairy herd management practices and make recommendations for improvements
  • Employ their speaking, presentation, and problem-solving skills
  • Work as a team to build consensus and present in tag-team speaking formats
  • Meet and network with potential employers from the dairy industry during the contest.
  • Provides an intercollegiate competitive opportunity

UW-Madison is committed to its students receiving a “Dairy Challenge” experience. In fact, within the curriculum we have the Nutrition Experience, Dairy
Herd Management Practicum and Dairy Challenge courses where students are mentored on how to analyze a commercial farm and present their observations and management recommendations, honing skills that translate directly to this competition and their future careers.

We feel the ability of our students to excel in this competitive format speaks to the quality of their education. UW Dairy Science majors graduate with a sophisticated knowledge of the science of dairying, and they learn to communicate their expertise. 

Contact Ted Halbach for additional information at

North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge Website

UW-Madison students confer while analyzing a 2,000 cow dairy in Visalia, CA during the 2018 National Dairy Challenge Contest.

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