MADISON - University of Wisconsin-Madison will host college dairy students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge, Feb. 7 - 9, in Madison. Dairy Challenge® is a prominent educational event for students planning a career in the dairy industry.
One hundred and twenty students from a combined 20 four-year colleges and technical schools are expected at the 14th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge.
The Midwest event 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 collegiates – are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers. Over its 16-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare more than 5,000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.
“The Madison area is blessed with the necessary resources it takes to grow the Midwest contest,” states Ted Halbach, UW-Madison faculty associate in dairy management. “No other university has the number of progressive dairy operations located within a 30-mile radius of campus that we do, and there is a concentration of industry professionals who deliver them their services. Hopefully, a good number of these folks now working in the industry will step forward as volunteers ‘to give back’ to a program that benefitted them as undergrads.”
At Dairy Challenge, each team of students put textbook knowledge to the ultimate test – providing solutions for a dairy. Student participants will be assigned to teams, working with students from other colleges whom they are meeting for the first time. These teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and interview farm owners. Then they develop recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health and housing to help the farm optimize performance and profitability.
Teams will 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 have ample opportunity for networking and education.
Dairy producers are invited to attend the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 8, when State Assembly Representative Gary Tauchen will speak on the future of the dairy industry, the 2018 Farm Bill and address questions on other topics from the audience. The program will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 PM. At 7:00 PM you will be joined for dinner by the participating students.
During the dinner, a past Alice In Dairyland will provide interactive professional development training. Attendees will also learn about Dairy Challenge and the work with industry, universities and producers to generate students who are more experienced and knowledgeable, and will be better prepared to serve the dairy industry of the future. Representative Tauchen's talk will follow dinner.
Cost is $50 for a ticket for dinner for two. Seating is limited. Visit future-of-dairy-industry.eventbrite.com to reserve a spot today.