Fox Valley Technical College will host dairy students from 18 schools in 10 states at the Midwest Dairy Challenge, Feb. 5-7,, in Appleton.
Dairy Challenge® is a prominent educational event for college students planning a career in the dairy industry.
Eighty dairy students from 13 universities and five post-secondary programs are expected at the 10th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge. This is the first time Fox Valley Technical College has hosted the Midwest event, which has been held in Wisconsin three other times.
"On behalf of Fox Valley Technical College and the Service Motors Agriculture Center, I would like to welcome everyone to Appleton," said Kevin Rauchholz, Ag Instructor at Fox Valley Technical College. "The Dairy Challenge is such a positive experience for the college students involved, in developing analytical, teamwork, communication and dairy management skills."
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 300 dairy collegiates — are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers.
Over its 13-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare over 4000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.
At Dairy Challenge, each team of students puts textbook knowledge to the ultimate test — providing solutions for a dairy. Teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and interview farm owners. Then each team develops recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health and housing to help the farm optimize performance and profitability.
Teams will present their recommendations to farm owners — while being evaluated by a panel of five judges including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. In addition to this consulting competition, students have ample opportunity for networking and education.
At the educational seminars, students will learn from these industry professionals:
·· What Does a Financial Consultant Look For? by Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus;
· Analyzing Reproductive Performance by Molly Sloan, Alta Genetics;
· Farm Financial Analysis from a Banker's Perspective, by Dan Gitter, Greenstone Farm Credit;
· Finding Opportunities and Eliminating Bottlenecks, by Dr. David LaCount, Purina Animal Nutrition;
· Team Building: Group Management of a Dairy Farm, by Dale Beaty, Wisconsin Farm Bureau; and
Effective Leadership through Active Listening, by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW).
"I express my sincere gratitude to the Board and volunteers involved with the Dairy Challenge, and to the Wisconsin dairy industry for their continued support of this event," concluded Rauchholz.
The 2014 national event will be April 3-5 in Fort Wayne, IN, and hosted by Michigan State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University. Four regional contests are held in late fall and winter; details are at www.dairychallenge.org.