DelVal students compete in the 11th annual Dairy Challenge, taking fourth in their section

Apr 16, 2012

Dr. Bruce Richards, a dairy science faculty member, took four DelVal students to the 11th annual Dairy Challenge competition March 29-31 in Roanoke, Va. Students put their knowledge to the test by analyzing and providing recommendations for a dairy.

This year, 32 teams of students from throughout the United States and Canada participated. The teams were divided up into four sections, so the DelVal team competed against 7 other schools.

Competing provided the students with an opportunity to prepare for the industry and learn through experience.

“Students hone their ability to work as a team and improve their time management, critical thinking and public speaking skills through participation in Dairy Challenge,” explained David R. Winston, coordinator of the 2012 contest and Extension Dairy Scientist-Youth at Virginia Tech.  “Employers in today's dairy job market seek to hire employees with excellent communication and dairy management skills, and NAIDC is a prime opportunity to advance these skills.”

Cornell, Virginia Tech, and the University of Wisconsin were in the same section as DelVal and were the teams that placed higher.

Competing students visit and evaluate a dairy farm.  They were given financial records, nutrition information, health records, production records, reproduction records, and business plans of the dairy.

They spent a couple hours at the dairy and a couple hours in a hotel room pouring through the information.  The students then performed a SWOT analysis of the operation.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This type of analysis looks at both internal and external factors that affect the operation and its ability to be successful.

Students then prepared a 20-minute presentation for a panel of five judges and the dairy producer with recommendations based on the SWOT analysis.

DelVal’s team included: dairy science seniors Darla Romberger, Travis Whitcomb, Aaron Breneman and Ag Business junior Jack Egan.