Students Represent the University of Minnesota at Midwest Dairy Challenge®

Left to right: Emily Annexstad, Lauren Hendel, Marcia Endres (coach), Sierra Swanson and Jordan Agrimson

The University of Minnesota was well represented at the 15th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge held February 13-15 in Freeport, IL. The event was hosted by University of Illinois with 97 student participants from 19 collegiate dairy programs in Midwestern states. Dairy Challenge® is an innovative dairy analysis competition developed by industry and university professionals, which exposes students to opportunities in a vibrant dairy industry.

Working in four- or five-person, mixed-university teams, students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and presented recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and participating farm families. The ultimate goal of providing recommendations is to help improve farm performance and operation profitability.

Team members presented recommendations and then fielded questions from a panel of judges. These official judges included dairy producers and industry experts in dairy finances, reproduction/genetics, farm management, nutrition and animal health. Presentations were evaluated for accuracy of analysis and recommendations, with awards presented at the end of the day. The three dairy farms evaluated this year were Hunter Haven Farms, of Pearl City; Willow Valley Farm, of Kent; and Mitchell’s Dairy, of Winnebago.

Participants from the University of Minnesota included CFANS students Jordan Agrimson, Emily Annexstad, Lauren Hendel, and Sierra Swanson. Dr. Marcia Endres coached the team. Jordan’s team placed first in Farm 1 and Sierra’s team placed 2nd in Farm 3. All four students gave a very professional presentation as individuals on their respective teams. Congratulations! Our students described the contest as an excellent learning and networking opportunity. We thank all the industry sponsors that make the Dairy Challenge possible.