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.

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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.

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