2007 Ohio Dairy Challenge Contest

Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The OhioStateUniversity

The 2007 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 9-10 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 generally grouped into teams of three to four individuals, and the first place team receives $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 Miedema Dairy in Circleville, OH, and it is owned by Andy and Itske Miedema. They built the facility during 2002 and began milking in it on December 24, 2002. The parlor is a double-12 parallel, and a second freestall barn was build in 2003. At present, they have about 550 cows, and construction is underway for a new free-stall barn whereby their herd can grow to 1000 cows. The Miedema’s have always welcomed students to their farm, e.g. they hosted the contest previously in 2004 and several faculty have taken classes to the facility or students in individualized training. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about two hours at the farm on Friday afternoon, assessing the strengths and opportunities of the operation by interviewing the owners and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility.  During Friday 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, and their final presentation had to be turned in on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, the students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges were Mr. Fred Martsolf (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Charles Garnder (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 6 teams and 25 students that participated in the program. The Awards Banquet was held on Friday, November 16 at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café. The students among the teams that competed were: Team #1 (Second Place) – Kristen Heller, Stephanie Metzger, Danielle Stout, and Dionne Young; Team #2 (Third Place) – Sheryn Bruff, Alicia Kissell, Jeff Riethman, and Kyle Uhlenhake; Team #3 – Paige Gott, Grace Hill, Mark Lyons, and Renee Starkey; Team #4 – Erica Beathard, Sara Cole, Michele Runyon, Julie Schrader, and Marjorie Turpening; Team #5 – Matt Jackson, Craig Link, Jesse Whinnery, and Adam Zimmerman; and Team #6 (First Place) – Anton Henry, Allison Stammen, and Eric Weitzel. The top 4 individuals for the contest that were selected to potentially represent Ohio at the 2008 National Contest to be held April 4-5 and hosted by the University of Wisconsin were Anton Henry, Stephanie Metzger, Eric Weitzel, and Jesse Whinnery. The coach for the team will be Dr. Maurice Eastridge in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State.