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FREEPORT, IL -- The Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge has wrapped up for 2019. The successful event began on Wednesday, Feb. 13 with 97 students from 19 schools, coaches and volunteers traveling to Freeport, IL. The first day included educational sessions for the students to provide financial, benchmark, PCDart, DairyComp 305 and general farm visit information that they can use over the next three days. The students were able to meet and bond with their teammates and mentors through dinner and trivia. The night concluded with teams reviewing data packets and refreshments.
The second day kicked off with farm 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. The dinner, which highlighted all the sponsors who have made this event possible, was complimented with a keynote speaker, Dr. Frank M Mitloehner, of UC Davis, that spoke about “Climate Smart Dairy: Global and Regional Perspectives.”
On the final day, the students gave their 20-minute presentations on the strengths and areas and opportunity to the panel of judges and farm owners. Students also had the excellent industry networking opportunities with companies at an innovation fair while the results were being tabulated. Then the three-day event concluded with a banquet and awards.
The judges awarded the following teams with the first and second place ranking among the eight total teams participating on each farm.
Farm 1, Hunter Haven Farms
First Place: Team 1, Jordan Agrimson- University of Minnesota, Payton Duitscher- Iowa State University, Molly Henschel- Lakeshore Technical College, Beau Cartwright- College of the Ozarks
Second Place: Team 8, Sam Johnston- University of Guelph - Ridgetown, Matthew Lansing- Iowa State University, Erin Will- Purdue University, Julia Mitchell- University of Wisconsin - Platteville
Farm 2, Willow Valley Farm
First Place: Team 10, Mark Nyentap- Iowa State University, Emily Unger- University of Guelph - Ridgetown, Jenna Van Wky- South Dakota State University, Tyler Vande Wettering- University of Wisconsin - Madison
Second Place: Team 14, Dean DeGroff- Michigan State University, Ryan Hafften- University of Wisconsin - River Falls, Emerald Hastreiter- University of Wisconsin - Platteville, Allison Helmke- Wilmington College
Farm 3, Mitchell’s Dairy
First Place: Team 23, Rachel Duesbury- University of Guelph - Ridgetown, Shumin Li- Kansas State University, Hunter Meese- The Ohio State University, Alexis Remmers- University of Illinois
Second Place: Team 24, Alexander Beaudeette- University of Guelph - Ridgetown, Eric Helmer- University of Wisconsin - River Falls, Sierra Swanson- University of Minnesota, Megan Whalin- The Ohio State University
The Midwest event is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC). These regional contests – plus a national event for about 250 dairy collegiates – are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers. Dairy Challenge has helped prepare over 5,000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.
The 2020 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge will be hosted by University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

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