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April 26, 2002

UW-RF Dairy Science Students Attend Competition

A team of four UW-River Falls dairy science majors represented the University at the first North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge competition, held at Michigan State University on April 12-13.

Thirteen collegiate dairy teams from universities across the nation participated in the competition. The team of students from UW-RF, all seniors, included Matthew Bendixen from River Falls, Michael Broker from Rice Lake, Michelle Frederick from Galesville, and Karl Nelson from Arena. The team was accompanied by animal and food science Professor Perry Clark.

For the competition, the teams each conducted a 90-minute on-site evaluation of a working dairy farm. They were provided with Dairy Herd Improvement Association data, as well as information on nutrition, health, reproduction and herd replacements, and fictitious information on the finances of the farm.

The students walked around the farm with clipboards and tape measures collecting data, then returned to campus to develop an overall evaluation of the farm, including its strengths and suggestions for improvements.

The following day each team used Power Point presentations to relay their findings to a team of expert judges from the dairy industry.

Said Clark, "This competition gives students hands-on experience in trouble-shooting management problems on actual working dairy farms. The experience is excellent preparation, as many of the students will be doing similar evaluations in post-graduate positions in the feed, pharmaceutical, genetics, and banking industries. The process hones their observation, analytical thinking, communication and people skills"

The event was sponsored by companies in the dairy industry. Industry representatives and faculty and staff from Michigan State University organized the activities.

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