Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University
The 2006 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held February 17-18 and 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 3 to 4 individuals, and the first place team received $800, the second place team $300, and the third place team $200 from Cargill Animal Nutrition. The farm selected for the contest this year was Assen Dairy LLC in London, OH, and it is owned by Pieter and Johannes Assen and their families. They have a herd of 670 Holstein cows that are housed in free stalls and are milked 3-times-a day in a double-24 herringbone parlor. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about 2 hours at the farm on Friday evening, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the operation by interviewing the owners and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility. On Saturday, the teams spent 4 to 5 hours reviewing their notes and farm records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities for the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation. The students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges were Mr. Keith DiDonato (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Steve DeBruin (Veterinarian for Assen Dairy LLC; Feeder Creek Veterinary Services), Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), Dr. K. Larry Smith (Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), and Dr. Richard Meiring (Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, OSU).
The contest was very successful this year, with a record year for the number of participants. The students among the teams that participated were: Team #1 -Julie Fluharty, Melissa Gibbons, and Annette Rubeck; Team #2 - Jarred Converse, Tim Lamb, Kristen Meiers, and Kathleen Zann; Team #3 ( Third Place) - Greg Hartschuh, Bryan Hirschbach, Matt Jackson, and Dan Ziegler; Team #4 - Gina Berry, Alicia Kissell, Sheryn Schlairet, and Erin Stone; Team #5 - Craig Link, Daryl Pena, John Schroeder, and Eric Weitzel; Team #6 - Matt Hartlein, Dan Sanders, Zach Stammen, and Kyle Warvel; Team #7 (First Place) - Brian Hartschuh, Mike Klein, Michelle Lahmers, and Jason Nuhfer; Team #8 (Second Place) - Mary Beth Fulk, Anton Henry, Amy Sprunger, and Allison Stammen; and Team #9 - Becky Galioto, Stacey Moritz, Maureen O'Brien, and Amanda Todd. The top 4 individuals for the contest selected to potentially represent Ohio at the 2006 National Contest were Michelle Lahmers, Jason Nuhfer, Dan Sanders, and Amanda Todd. The awards banquet was held at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café, where the students and judges were joined by Pieter Assen and his fiancé.