Taking place in Wisconsin for the first time, the third annual Midwest Dairy Challenge will be held Jan. 25-27, bringing 90 agricultural-studies students from 12 colleges in nine states to Fond du Lac.
Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond du Lac campus, Fond du Lac County UW-Extension and Ramada Plaza Hotel, Fond du Lac, will host the event.
“The strong agricultural community in Fond du Lac County and the outstanding educational facilities are the primary reasons the contest is coming to Fond du Lac,” said Linda Hodorff of Second-Look Holsteins, LLC, in Eden, one of the local organizers for the event.
“Moraine Park is very pleased to co-host the Midwest Dairy Challenge and to provide the rooms, computers, software and other equipment that are needed in order for the students teams to successfully prepare their presentations within the four-hour time limit,” said Pete Rettler, Moraine Park executive dean of instructional technologies and curriculum design.
“This will be a great learning opportunity for all involved to analyze the business and management practices of progressive dairy farm operations,” said Paul Dyk, Fond du Lac County UW-Extension dairy and livestock agent.
The students hail from numerous midwestern colleges including Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa State, North Dakota State and South Dakota State universities, the University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, UW-Madison, UW-River Falls, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and Lakeshore Technical College. The Dairy Challenge features educational programs for students and opportunities to network with dairy industry professionals.
Working in four- or five-person mixed-university teams, students will assess all aspects of a working dairy farm and present their recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and the participating farm families.
Team-building activities and presentations by industry consultants are scheduled for Thursday evening. Armed with information about nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management, the teams will visit three area farms and interview owners and managers on Friday. Afterward, they will prepare 20-minute presentations complete with PowerPoint shows using Moraine Park’s classrooms and equipment. Saturday will feature team presentations and questions and critiques from an industry panel of judges, followed by a short awards ceremony, all of which will take place at Moraine Park. Students will also participate in a media training session and network with contest sponsors at a career fair.
The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge was established as a management contest to incorporate all phases of a specific dairy business. In addition to a national contest, there are four regional contests each year including the Midwest Dairy Challenge. The Dairy Challenge strives to incorporate a higher-learning atmosphere with practical application to help prepare students for careers in the dairy industry.
For more information, call Josh Hushon, Midwest NAIDC publicity chair, at (920) 563-5551, ext. 123.