Students Excel in 2011 Ohio Dairy Challenge Contest

Dr. Maurice L. Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University

The 2011 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 10-11and was again sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition. The Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for undergraduates at Ohio State University to experience the process of evaluating management practices on a dairy farm and to interact with representatives in the dairy industry. The program is held in a contest format whereby students are grouped into teams of three to four individuals, and the first and second place team members received gift certificates to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore. The farm selected for the contest this year was the Rising Sun Dairy in London, OH (Madison County), and the local co-owners are Pieter and Johannes Assen, with the other partner living in TX. The farm was begun in 2003 and today it has about 1175 cows, with plans for expansion underway. The parlor is a double-24 herringbone and cows are milked 3x per day. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about two hours at the farm on Thursday afternoon, interviewing the owner and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility.  During Thursday evening, the teams spent about four hours reviewing their notes and farm records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities of the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation that had to be turned in on Thursday evening. On Friday, the students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges were Mr. Bob Hostetler (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Mr. Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), and Dr. K. Larry Smith (Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU).

There were 10 teams and 37 students that participated in the program. The awards banquet was held on Friday, November 11 at the University Plaza Hotel on Olentangy River Road. Individuals listed below and designated with an asterisk were recognized as providing outstanding contributions to their teams. The first place team consisted of Katie Stevens*, Emily Stayduhar*, Melinda Miller*, and Jessie Maier, with the second place team consisting of Matthew Borchers*, Rachel Foureman, Kevin Jacque*, and Laura Gordon*. The students among the other teams (no particular order) competing were: Team #3 - Maggie Alden, Kevin See, Sam Seider, and Rebekah Meller; Team #4 - Katie Cole, Ashlee Dietz, and Abby Griffith; Team #5 - Kristen Wirght, Marina Cable, Sarah Finney, and Rixt Miedema*; Team #6 - Patrick Twining, Andy Mazur, Heidi Moff, and Derek Booth; Team #7 - Jason Milyard, Kayla Chapman, Felicia Nonnenmacher, and Zekel Dicke; Team #8 - Danielle Roark, Sabrina Eick, Cory Smith, and Sarah Sklenka; Team #9 - Jaimie Watts, Marc Bolen, and Jeneva Auble; and Team #10 - Anne Dobrowski, Lindsay Pickett, and Larissa Deikun. The top 4 individuals for the contest that were selected to represent Ohio at the 2012 National Contest, to be hosted by Virginia Tech University during March 29-31 in Roanoke, VA, were Kevin Jacque, Melinda Miller, Emily Stayduhar, and Katie Stevens. Students from OSU will also be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by Kansas State University to be held January 31 - February 2, 2012 in St. Joseph, MO. The coach for the Dairy Challenge is Dr. Maurice Eastridge in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State.

First Place Team (left to right): Katie Stevens,
Emily Stayduhar, Melinda Miller, and Jessie Maier


Second Place Team (left to right): Matthew Borchers,
Rachel Foureman, Kevin Jacque, and Laura Gordon.