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Penn State Animal Science Students Participate in Dairy Challenge

Posted: November 6, 2017

Six students joined 119 students in innovative, three-day educational competition, working in mixed-university teams.
Penn State students who participated in the Northeast Dairy Challenge are: Seated - Sam Minor, left, and Ian Miller; Standing, from left - Zane Itle, Josh Grigg, Greg Kowalewski and Josh Brubaker.

Penn State students who participated in the Northeast Dairy Challenge are: Seated - Sam Minor, left, and Ian Miller; Standing, from left - Zane Itle, Josh Grigg, Greg Kowalewski and Josh Brubaker.

Six students representing Penn State's Department of Animal Science participated in the 15th Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge, hosted this year Cornell University in Auburn, NY on October 26-28, 2017.

One hundred and nineteen students from ten northeast colleges and two Canadian universities participated in this innovative, three-day educational competition designed to prepare students for careers in the dairy industry.

Students worked in mixed-university teams of five students as they assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm, including facilities, nutrition, financials, reproduction and animal health. In a collaborative effort, each team developed a 20-minute presentation detailing their observations and recommendations which they then presented to a panel of professional judges as well as the farm family, sponsors and coaches. Teams were ranked based on how well their evaluations matched the judges' assessment of the dairy operation.

The six Penn State students were: Joshua Brubaker, Mount Joy, PA; Joshua Grigg, Salix, PA; Zane Itle, Loretto, PA; Greg Kowalewski, Forest City, PA; Ian Miller, Ebensburg, PA; and Samuel Minor, Eighty Four, PA. Itle was on a first place team and Brubaker was on a second place team that evaluated Vansridge Dairy LLC, Scipio, NY, while Minor was on a second place team that evaluated Elkendale Dairy LLC, Locke, NY. Other students were recognized for their participation.

Penn State students were coached by Lisa Holden, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Animal Science and Virginia Ishler, Extension Specialist of Animal Science.

Sunnyside Dairy, Scipio Center, NY, toured students and coaches through their 100-cow rotary parlor and hosted an informational session with Mr. Dan Simmons, owner and recruiter for Continental Search Outplacement, Inc. The sessions with Simmons were for both producers and students and included interaction with job seekers and potential employers

Travel funding came from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania Dairyman's Association and an endowment established by alumnus Clif Marshall to facilitate travel by teams from the Department.

NAIDC is an innovative event for students in dairy programs at North American post-secondary institutions. Its mission is to develop tomorrow's dairy leaders and enhance progress of the dairy industry, by providing education, communication and networking among students, producers, and agribusiness and university personnel. Over its 15-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare more than 5,000 students for careers as farm owners and managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.

The 2018 national competition and Dairy Challenge Academy will be April 12-14 in Visalia, CA. Four regional contests are held in late fall and winter; details are at www.dairychallenge.org.