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Midwest Dairy Challenge Draws Record Crowd During WI Contest
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/17/2017

More than 100 students from 18 colleges and universities were part of the largest Dairy Challenge ever held in the Midwest this month. The competition took place at farms near the Madison area, where participants applied theory and learning on a real-world dairy operation while working as part of a team.

"The Madison area is blessed with the necessary resources it takes to expand the Midwest contest," states Ted Halbach, faculty associate in dairy management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and host of the event. "There are a number of progressive dairy operations within a 30-mile radius of campus and a concentration of industry professionals who serve them."

The three-day contest kicked off with seminars on a variety of topics to hone skills and information the students would use in the farm evaluation. Students participated in presentations from industry leaders on benchmarking financials, optimizing cow comfort, mining for data and utilizing PCDart and DairyComp 305.

The teams visited and evaluated Baerwolf Dairies of Sun Prairie; Balleweg Dairies of Sun Prairie; and Manthe Farms of DeForest, where they maked recommendations in nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, cow comfort and financial management. After working all afternoon on their presentations, students networked with agribusiness sponsors while participating in workshops on etiquette, interviews and career development.

Many of the winning student participants were from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, River Falls, Platteville, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and Lakeshore Technical College.

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