November 10, 2013

Students take Dairy Challenge

PLATTSBURGH — The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute hosted the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge that drew 119 students from 12 northeast colleges and two Canadian universities Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. This event marked the 11th annual event, which is a three-day educational competition designed to prepare students for careers in the dairy industry.

Working in mixed-university teams of five students, contestants assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm, including facilities, nutrition, financials, reproduction, animal health and much more. Students collaborated on a 20-minute team presentation that detailed their observations and suggestions to a panel of judges and participating farm families. Teams were ranked as platinum, gold or silver based on how well their evaluations matched the judges’ assessment of the dairy operation.

The objective of Dairy Challenge is to create a real-life situation that stresses the importance of teamwork and professionalism.

“Not only does the Dairy Challenge teach technical knowledge, it excels in helping students develop people skills,” industry chair Brett Denny of the Vermont Dairy Herd Improvement Association<\Iz14> explained. 

New York farms evaluated at the 2013 competition included Rusty Creek Farm in Chazy, Rovers Farm in Chazy and Hidden View Farm in Champlain. All teams also participated in educational workshops at Miner Institute and attended an industry career fair. Team-building and fun activities were held throughout the weekend to encourage networking among students and dairy-industry sponsors.

First-place teams, which were named after top sponsors of the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge, included Shur-Gain USA Inc., Elanco Animal Health and the New England Jersey Breeders Association. The Shur-Gain USA Inc. team was also recognized with Don Rogers honors, indicating the highest honors possible.

The 2014 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge will be hosted by the Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania. For more information about next year’s contest, contact Bruce Richards of Delaware Valley College at

To become a sponsor, contact Jan Bitter of Farm Credit East at 800-392-3276 or All contributions are tax deductible. Contributing sponsor listings are available at

The Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge is under the guidance and support of the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, which was established in April 2002 as a management contest to incorporate evaluation of all aspects of a specific dairy business.

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