Wisconsin students take top honors at Midwest Dairy Challenge

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
During the Midwest Dairy Challenge, Team 1 was awarded the top ranking for their evaluation at Hunter Haven Farms. Molly Henschel- Lakeshore Technical College, Payton Duitscher- Iowa State University, Jordan Agrimson- University of Minnesota, Beau Cartwright- College of the Ozarks

Applying theory and learning to real-world dairies, Wisconsin students were among 97 students from 19 schools who competed in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge at the University of Illinois, Feb. 13-15. 

The Midwest event is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC). The challenge incorporates all facets of a working dairy business in an interactive, fun, educational forum with students working in teams. 

Students started off with educational sessions to gathering information they can use during the three-day competition. 

The second day of the event was dedicated to visits to one of three farms: Hunter Haven Farms, of Pearl City; Willow Valley Farm, of Kent; and Mitchell’s Dairy, of Winnebago.

 All students were able to walk through the whole operation in order to evaluate and make recommendations with the guidance of an industry mentor. The main focus areas include: nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, cow comfort and financial management. In the afternoon, students worked on their presentations until dinner.

Team 10 captured first place on Willow Valley Farm. Mark Nyentap- Iowa State University, Emily Unger- University of Guelph - Ridgetown, Jenna Van Wky- South Dakota State University, Tyler Vande Wettering- University of Wisconsin - Madison

On the last day, students gave 20-minute presentations on the strengths and areas and opportunity to a panel of judges and the farm owners. 

Wisconsin students awarded first or second place with their teams were:

Molly Henschel - Lakeshore Technical College: First place, Team 1 at Hunter Haven Farms.

Julia Mitchell - University of Wisconsin - Platteville: Second place, Team 8 at Hunter Haven Farms.

Tyler Vande Wettering - University of Wisconsin - Madison: First place, Team 10 at Willow Valley Farm.

Ryan Hafften - University of Wisconsin - River Falls: Second place, Team 14 at Willow Valley Farm. 

Emerald Hastreiter - University of Wisconsin - Platteville: Second place, Team 14 at Willow Valley Farm.

Eric Helmer - University of Wisconsin - River Falls: Second place, Team 24 at Mitchell's Dairy. 

The 2020 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge will be hosted by University of Wisconsin – River Falls.