Youth from Allegan, Isabella counties win dairy management contest

EAST LANSING, MI -- Youth representing Isabella/Kent, Isabella and Allegan counties were the high novice, junior and senior individuals, respectively, in this year’s dairy management 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 dairy management contest is a practical, hands-on competition that tests contestants' dairy knowledge. Youth rotate through a series of stations representing a variety of dairy management-related topics. At each station, contestants may be asked to perform tasks, identify common tools, feeds and other common items used on dairy farms, write an answer on a card or deliver an answer orally to a judge. They are asked to demonstrate specific skills, such as proper calf management, how to artificially inseminate a cow, proper calving-assistance methods and nutritional case studies.

Dairy management contest participants can compete in one of three age divisions: novice (ages 9-11), junior (ages 11-14) or senior (ages 15-19). Contest material becomes more complicated as the age division increases.

The top 10 high ranking individuals in the novice division were:

1. Olivia Black, Clinton County (Eagle)

2. Lydia Deters, Isabella County (Fremont, Newaygo Co.)

3. Taylor Gager, Isabella County (Elwell, Gratiot Co.)

4. Braidy Abbott, Eaton County (Grand Ledge)

5. James Link, Kent County (Alto)

6. Wyatt Meekhof, Ottawa County (Zeeland)

7. Gavin McQueen, Isabella County (Shepherd)

8. Paul Meyer, Clinton County (Ionia)

9. Matthew Whitaker, Clinton County (Elsie)

10. Sam Meyer, Clinton County (Ionia)

11. Katie Polzin, Washtenaw County (Saline)

12. Brianne Halfmann, Clinton County (St. Johns)

13. Sonja Ybema, Allegan County (Hopkins)

In the novice team division, the team representing Isabella and Kent counties placed first. Team members were: Lydia Deters, of Fremont; Taylor Gager, of Elwell; James Link, of Alto; and Gavin McQueen, of Shepherd. The second place team was from Clinton County. Team members were: Olivia Black, of Eagle; Brianne Halfmann, of St. Johns; Paul Meyer, of Ionia; and Matthew Whitaker, of Elsie. Members of the third place team from Ottawa County were: Tarrah Barnes, of Grand Haven; Braxton and Wyatt Meekhof, of Zeeland; and Josiah Tripp, of Dorr. The three-person team from Allegan County finished in fourth place. Team members were: Thomas Westendorp, of Martin; and Martin and Sonja Ybema, of Hopkins. A team made up of youth from both Clinton and Ottawa counties earned fifth place. Those team members were: Nathan and Thomas Halfman, of St. Johns; Sam Meyer, of Ionia; and Kylee Slocum, of Hudsonville.

The top 10 high ranking individuals in the junior division were:

1. Katie Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)

2. Hayley Wineland, Branch County (Coldwater)

3. Joshua Tripp, Ottawa County (Dorr)

4. Joe Simon, Clinton County (Westphalia)

5. Gerl Pish, Branch County (Quincy)

6. Adalee Thelen, Clinton County (St. Johns)

7. Casey Ybema, Allegan County (Hopkins)

8. Ian Black, Clinton County (Eagle)

9. Drew Neyer, Isabella County (Shepherd)

10. Anna Wehler, Allegan County (Caledonia)

Isabella County clinched the blue ribbon in the junior division team category. Team members were: Drew Neyer, of Shepherd; Cristin Theisen, of Mt. Pleasant; and Emily and Katie Wilson, of Blanchard. A three-person team heralding from Allegan County finished second. Team members were: Caleb Tucker, of Hopkins; Anna Wehler, of Caledonia; and Casey Ybema, of Hopkins. Clinton County Team A placed third with team members: Ian Black, of Eagle; Dakota Dershem and Carla Hicks, of St. Johns; and Joe Simon, of Westphalia. The team of Blaine, Gerl and Macy Pish, of Quincy, and Hayley Wineland, of Coldwater, representing Branch County placed fourth. Ottawa County Team A took fifth place. Team members were: Kaila Barnes, of Grand Haven; Brandon Dreyer, of Zeeland; Joshua Tripp, of Dorr; and Jacob Vandermolen, of Allendale.

The top 10 high ranking individuals in the senior division were:

1. Shannon Good, Allegan County (Caledonia)

2. Miriah Dershem, Clinton County (St. Johns)

3. C.J. (Carl) Shearer, Ottawa County (Hudsonville)

4. Miles Wixom, Allegan County (Bloomingdale)

5. Miriam Cook, Clinton County (Pewamo)

6. Alexis Butcher, Shiawassee County (Owosso)

7. Chelsea Barnes, Ottawa County (Grand Haven)

8. Caleb Shearer, Ottawa County (Hudsonville)

9. Carmen Hicks, Clinton County (St. Johns)

10. Madeline Meyer, Clinton County (Ionia)

11. Rachel Weidmayer, Washtenaw County (Saline)

Winning the senior division, was the team representing Ottawa County: Chelsea Barnes, of Grand Haven; Brittany Dreyer, of Zeeland; and Caleb and C.J. Shearer, of Hudsonville. Allegan County Team A placed second. Team members were: Makenna Davies, of Wayland; Shannon Good, of Caledonia; Katrina Tucker, of Hopkins; and Miles Wixom, of Bloomingdale. Clinton County Team B was third with team members: Cameron Cook, of Pewamo; Miriah Dershem and Carmen Hicks, of St. Johns; and Madeline Meyer, of Ionia. In fourth place, was Clinton County Team A. Team members were: Josh Markel, of Westphalia; Forrest and Jessica Nash, of Elsie; and Kyle Schafer, of Westphalia. In fifth place, was the team representing both Clinton and Washtenaw counties: Jack Orozco, of Fowler; Daniel Remenar, of Elsie; Holden Schrader, of DeWitt; and Rachel Weidmayer, 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.

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

Awards and other recognition during Michigan 4-H 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.