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Apr 30, 2013

DelVal students participate in National Dairy Challenge

From April 3 through 6 Delaware Valley College had a team of four students participate in the National Dairy Challenge competition.  Students were given health, nutrition, financial, and milk production records for a dairy herd. 

After spending a couple of hours analyzing the data, students were taken to the farm and evaluated all parts of the farm for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  They had the opportunity to ask the owner of the farm questions and then spent four hours preparing a presentation for the dairy and a panel of judges.  Students were evaluated for presentation skills and ability to recognize key recommendations for the dairy farm.  This was a tremendous experiential learning opportunity for the students.

Students were also given the opportunity to network with sponsors from the dairy industry including Farm Credit and Cargill, Inc.  The team traveled by bus with students from Penn State.  Transportation costs were offset by grants from the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.

Dairy Challenge team members included Tabitha Dilks, Billie-Jo LaVan, Justin Ulmer, and Gina Brooks.  They were coached by Dr. Bruce Richards, assistant professor of dairy science and Aaron Stepnoski, assistant dairy superintendent at DelVal.

In addition to the competition, this was the inaugural year for the National Dairy Challenge Academy.  Felicia Pipe from DelVal participated in the academy, which included several workshops, presentations and an on-farm evaluation with a professional dairy consultant.