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Delaware Valley University Animal Science students compete at 2017 NESA


Posted on April 12, 2017 by Brooke Kitting ’18, a Delaware Valley University animal science major.

Delaware Valley University students took part in the Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) of the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association competition at the University of Rhode Island Feb. 25. The DelVal group joined students from six different institutions in a competition that tests students’ knowledge of animal science. After months of preparing, the team placed fourth overall as an institution against the six other teams.

NESA hosts a competition each spring. DelVal, Penn State, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, the University of Massachusetts, University of Maine, University of Delaware, and the University of New Hampshire participated in the competition this year. Teams accumulate points for livestock judging, Animal Science quiz bowl and team member presentations.

To prepare for the event, teams started practicing in September, meeting as many as three times a week to study for the competition. Team leaders also organized judging practices at an assortment of livestock and breeding barns. Barn managers were courteous enough to put together classes so the groups could practice.

Advisors, Dr. Bruce Richards, Assistant Professor of Dairy and Animal Sciences, and Jonathan Carey, Assistant Manager at the beef, sheep, and swine center on campus, attended the event as Delaware Valley University’s advisors.

DelVal placed fourth institutionally, had three teams of four place in livestock judging, an individual place fourth in industry presentations, and one team place overall in the team standings.

Michael Long, DelVal Team C, placed fourth out of around forty presenters on his presentation regarding Immunological Castration in hog production. Long, whose family is a producer for Smithfield, knows firsthand the advantages of this implementation in his hog facilities. Castration by means of injection has been making advancements in feed efficiency and overall rate of gains in hog production. Michael was asked to present in front of all competitors in attendance along with five other finalists, and came away with fourth place.

DelVal sent four other presenters to the competition which included Casandra Blickley (Animal Science ’19), who presented on using pasteurized waste milk to feed calves on large dairies, Valeri LaTourette (Animal Science ’17), who presented on finishing diets in feedlot cattle, Michelle Haas (Animal Science ’17), who presented on the PED vaccine in hogs, and Bridget McConn (Animal Science ’17), who presented on long-day lighting in lactating dairy cows.

In the judging competition, the group judged Devon beef heifers, Southdown ewes, market hogs, Jersey cows, Quarter Horse mares, and oysters, as the mystery class. The top ten teams place and receive ribbons.

“We focused a great deal on practicing livestock judging this year and I think because of this, we saw improved results” says Brooke Kitting, Co-Chair for the group.

DelVal Team B, composed of Brandon DeFranco (Animal Science ’19), Ashlyn Parise (Animal Science ’18), Bridget McConn (Animal Science ’17), and Samantha Landers (Animal Science ’20) placed ninth in livestock judging as a team.

DelVal Team C, composed of Sarah Fenwick (Animal Science ’18), Michael Long (Crop Science ’19), Carly Swirsding (Animal Science ’20), and Tarrah Freund (Animal Science ’19) placed seventh in livestock judging as a team.

DelVal Team D, composed of Casandra Blickley (Animal Science ’19), Arielle Soldridge (Animal Science ’17), Debra Beiser (Animal Science ’18), and Ryan Herstine (Animal Science ’19) placed third as a team in livestock judging.

In the team placing, DelVal Team C (members listed above), placed third in the top ten of all teams present at the competition.

Next year, the NESA competition will be held at the University of New Hampshire.

“We had a young team this year, but still represented DelVal very well” says Kitting, “I look forward to seeing how the 2018 NESA competition goes with an experienced group of competitors.”

Photo (above) with group ribbons at the NESA Banquet on Feb. 25: First row, from left to right, Arielle Soldridge, Debra Beiser, Tarrah Freund, Sarah Fenwick, Brooke Kitting, Morgan Sowers, Samantha Landers, Michael Long, Michelle Haas; Second row, from left to right, Jonathan Carey (advisor), Carly Swirsding, Amanda Goslee, Amanda Rees, Brandon DeFranco, Ryan Herstine, Casandra Blickley, Ashlyn Parise, Bridget McConn, Dr. Bruce Richards (advisor), Benjamin Wainwright, Heather Oeljten-Bruns, Valeri LaTourette