Youth from Allegan, Clinton, Isabella counties win dairy quiz bowl contest

EAST LANSING, MI -- Teams with youth representing Allegan, Clinton and Isabella counties were the first place winners in this year’s dairy quiz bowl contest held during Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, an annual dairy youth activity held in conjunction with Michigan Dairy Expo.  The 19th annual expo took place July 18-22 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing.

The Michigan Youth Dairy Days dairy quiz bowl competition tests the dairy knowledge of youth teams, who are awarded points for correctly answered questions. Though the majority of questions focus on dairy cattle health, nutrition and production practices, a wide range of questions can be asked. Teams compete in a series of one-on-one, quiz-off, double elimination rounds until the top team is chosen.

Dairy quiz bowl contestants can compete in one of three age divisions: novice (ages 9-11), junior (ages 11-14) or senior (ages 15-19). Eight teams competed in the novice, eleven teams in the junior division, and sixteen teams in the senior division.

The first place team in the novice division heralded from Clinton County. The members of Clinton County Team B were: Olivia Black, of Eagle; Brianne Halfmann of St. Johns; Paul Meyer, of Ionia; and Matthew Whitaker, of Elsie.  The second place team was from Allegan County. Team members were: Anna and Samuel Geerlings, of Hamilton; Thomas Westendorp, of Martin; and Martin and Sonja Ybema, of Hopkins. Branch County placed third. Team members were: Mallory Brenneman and Madison Wineland, of Coldwater; Carter Pish, of Bronson; and Maddie Pish, of Quincy. In fourth, was the team from Ottawa County: Tarah Barnes, of Grand Haven; Braxton and Wyatt Meekhof, of Zeeland; and Josiah Tripp, of Dorr. The joint three-person team from Washtenaw and Hillsdale counties finished fifth. Its team members were: Levi Poling, of Addison; and Grace and Katie Polzin, of Saline.

For the third year, a team from Allegan County was the winner in the junior category. This year’s team partnered youth from both Allegan and Isabella counties: Caleb Tucker, of Hopkins; Anna Wahler, of Caledonia; Emily Wilson, of Blanchard; and Casey Ybema, of Hopkins. For the second year, Ottawa County Team A placed second. Its team members were: Kaila Barnes, of Grand Haven; Hunter Meekhof, of Zeeland; Delbert Smith, of Hudsonville; and Joshua Tripp, of Dorr. Clinton County Team A finished in third place. Team members were: Ian Black, of Eagle; Dakota Dershem and Carla Hicks of St. Johns; and Joe Simon, of Westphalia. In fourth place was Clinton County Team B with Emily and Madison Halfman, Kole Jakus and Adalee Thelen, all of St. Johns. Shiawassee County placed fifth. Its team consisted of: Ben Crevier, of Corunna; Nathan Jacobs, of New Lothrop; James Place and Sydni Reeder, of Perry.

Clinton County Team A won the senior division. The winning team members were: Miriah Dershem and Carmen Hicks, of St. Johns; Madeline Meyer, of Ionia; and Jessica Nash, of Elsie. Allegan County earned second place. Team members were: Makenna Davies, of Wayland; Shannon Good, of Caledonia; Katrina Tucker, of Hopkins; and Miles Wixom, of Bloomingdale.  Youth from Clinton and Ottawa counties joined forces to place third: Ashton Geurink, of Allendale; Josh Markel, of Westphalia; Forrest Nash, of Elsie; and Alex Taylor, of St. Johns. The joint team with youth from both Allegan and Lapeer counties placed fourth: Jonah Haskins, of Marlette; Jacob Rottier, of Wayland; Jared Westendorp, of Martin; and Christina Ybema, of Hopkins. Washtenaw County placed fifth. Its team members were: Mason Horning, of Manchester; Cassidy and Chrissy Polzin, and Ryan Luckhardt, of Saline.

As the youth-centered portion of the Michigan Dairy Expo, the largest annual dairy event in the state, Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various educational activities, including dairy quiz bowls, dairy management contests, dairy cattle judging competitions and the Dairy Days youth show. This year, nearly 170 youth from around the state participated in one or more of the educational competitions, and winners may go on to represent Michigan in national competitions.

Awards and other recognition during Michigan 4-H and Youth Dairy Days, along with other dairy youth and judging program activities conducted throughout the year, are made possible through the generous support of numerous businesses, organizations and individuals. These include: ABS Global, AIS Equipment, the Branch County Dairy Organization, the CHS Foundation, the Clinton County 4-H Dairy Council, Dairy Farmers of America, the District 1 and District VI Holstein associations, Drs. Joe and Denise Domecq, GreenStone Farm Credit Services,  Hillsdale County Dairy Leaders, Ira Krupp, Lely, the Michigan Dairy Memorial Foundation, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Holstein Association, the Michigan Jersey Cattle Club, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, the MSU Dairy Club, the MSU Dairy Cattle Judging Team, the MSU Department of Animal Science, MOO-ville Creamery, NorthStar Cooperative, the Osceola County 4-H Dairy Boosters, the Ottawa County 4-H Dairy Committee, Rodney Pennock, Purina Animal Nutrition, the Shiawassee County 4-H Dairy Association, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and the Vitality Dairy crew.

For complete lists of results from the 2016 4-H Youth Dairy Days, visit