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Long is state’s top junior dairy cattle judge for 2017

EAST LANSING, MI – Ingham County’s Keagan Long, of Lansing, was the top ranking individual overall in the junior division of this year’s dairy cattle judging contest at this year’s Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, an annual dairy youth activity held in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo. This year’s expo, the 20th annual, took place July 17-21 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing. As the high individual overall in the junior division, he received the Sandra Place Memorial Award. Long is the fifth youth to receive the award, which is presented in memory of Sandy Place, a lifelong dairy farmer and avid 4-H and youth leader and supporter from Perry.

Youth are eligible to compete in one of three age divisions in the dairy cattle judging contest: novice, junior or senior. Participants in the junior category – for young people ages 11 to 14 – evaluated the conformation of eight classes of dairy animals (four animals in each class) and presented one set of oral reasons. Evaluation scores were tallied according to how closely the contestant’s placing matched the judges’ official placing. In the oral reasons presentation, which is comparable to making an oral defense case in court, judges assign individual scores to each contestant based on how well the young person can justify his or her reasons for placing the cows in the order he or she did. Contestants can earn a total of 50 points in both the evaluation and oral reasons parts of the contest for each class. They also complete a written quiz.

The top 10 individuals overall in the junior division of the dairy cattle judging contest, in chronological order, were:

1. Keagan Long, Ingham County (Lansing)

2. Katie Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)

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

4. Anna Moser, Ingham County (Dansville)

5. Brianne Halfman, Clinton County (St. Johns)

6. Cristin Theisen, Isabella County (Mt. Pleasant)

7. McKenzie Bradley, Isabella County (Blanchard)

8. Autumn Reed, Iosco County (Prescott)

9. Gerl Pish, Branch County (Quincy)

10. Irene Nielsen, Ingham County (Potterville)

Katie Wilson was the high individual overall in the oral reasons portion of the junior division of the dairy cattle judging contest. 

Rounding out the top 10 individuals in the oral reasons contest in the junior division, in chronological order, were:

2. Keagan Long, Ingham County (Lansing)

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

4. Cristin Theisen, Isabella County (Mt. Pleasant)

5. Olivia Black, Clinton County (Eagle)

6. Emily Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)

7. Pearl Daskam, Huron County (Ubly)

8. Irene Nielsen, Ingham County (Potterville)

9. Jake Vandermolen, Ottawa County (Allendale)

10. Joshua Tripp, Ottawa County (Dorr)

In the team category of this year’s state dairy cattle judging contest, youth from Ingham County earned the high team overall award in the junior division. Members of the three-person team representing Ingham County were: Keagan Long, of Lansing; Anna Moser, of Dansville; and Irene Nielsen, of Potterville. Ingham County placed second in oral reasons.

Isabella County Team placed first in oral reasons – and second overall – in the junior division with its team consisting of Abby, Emily, and Katie Wilson, of Blanchard, and Cristin Theisen, of Mt. Pleasant. Clinton County Team A placed third overall and in oral reasons. Team members were: Olivia Black, of Eagle; Brianne Halfman and Adalee Thelen, of St. Johns, and Sam Meyer, of Ionia. 

A team from Ottawa County placed fourth in oral reasons: Kaila Barnes, of Zeeland; Delbert Smith, of Hudsonville; Joshua Tripp, of Dorr; and Jake Vandermolen, of Allendale. In fifth place in oral reasons, was a team representing Huron and Kent counties. Team members were: Addy Battel, of Cass City; Pearl and Royce Daskam, of Ubly; and Keegan Nugent, of Clarksville.

In the overall contest, Iosco County made its debut in the state’s dairy cattle judging contest by finishing fourth. Team members were: Madison Grubaugh, of Standish; Isabella and Karlee Nelkie, of Whittemore; and Autumn Reed, of Prescott. The joint team from Isabella and Ottawa counties placed fifth. Its team members were: McKenzie Bradley, of Blanchard; Lydia Deters, of Fremont; Kylee Slocum, of Hudsonville; and Josiah Tripp, of Dorr.

Sixteen youth received perfect scores on the quiz identifying anatomical cow parts: Hope Shilling and Hayley Wineland, of Branch County; Olivia Black, Elizabeth and Kellie Feldpausch, Brianne Halfman, and Adalee Thelen, of Clinton County; Irene Nielsen, of Ingham County; Madison Grubaugh and Isabella Nelkie, of Iosco County; Cristin Theisen, and Abby, Emily, and Katie Wilson, of Isabella County; and Josiah Tripp and Jake Vandermolen, of Ottawa County.

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 200 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, Dairyland Laboratories, Inc., the District 1 and District VI Holstein associations, Drs. Joe and Denise Domecq, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hillsdale County Dairy Leaders, Ira Krupp, 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 more information about the Michigan 4-H dairy youth program, contact Melissa Elischer at 517-432-4306. For more information about the Michigan Dairy Expo, contact Dr. Joe Domecq at 517-353-7855.

The 2018 Michigan Dairy Expo is scheduled for July 16-20 at MSU.