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The University of Wisconsin-River Falls dairy team earned a first-place award in the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge held in Syracuse, NY, April 7-9.

This was the 15th year of this international competition, which involved 128 students from 32 different universities.

Students in the team from UW-River Falls were Brian Fesenmaier of Spring Valley, Meghan Connelly of Rochester, Minn., Kyle Rentmeester of Glenbeulah, and Dylan Nelson of Edgerton. The team is coached by Sylvia Kehoe, associate professor of dairy science. In addition to a recognition plaque, each team member received a $200 scholarship.

The NAIDC is a two-day competition where teams evaluate a well-managed dairy farm business and recommend management enhancements to a panel of judges comprised of industry and academic professionals. The 32 participating teams are randomly assigned to one of four farms, for a maximum of eight teams per farm in head to head competition.

Teams are provided with herd data necessary to analyze the farm operation and their herd management practices. They must analyze the data and prioritize the farm areas that need a detailed examination. Each team is then allowed a farm visit and short question and answer sessions with the farm manager. Teams complete their evaluation and prepare their presentations that same day, then deliver their presentations to the judge's panel the following day.

Time limits are set and strictly enforced for each activity to simulate real world on-farm consulting.

The NAIDC event also includes a Career and Innovation Fair, opportunities for informal networking with industry sponsors and some fun activities, which this year was a Minute to Win It contest. The NAIDC is committed to developing tomorrow's dairy leaders and enhancing the progress of the industry. Industry sponsorship helps cover the travel, lodging and meals expenses for teams and provides the scholarships.

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