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WESTERN REGIONAL DAIRY CHALLENGE
By Cecilia Parsons
DAIRY CHALLENGE SETS STAGE
FOR INDUSTRY CAREER
Competition at the Western Regional
Dairy Challenge comes in a different
package as collegiate teams were mixed into
aggregate teams based on skills and profi-
“They learn to work as a team and the
change adds another dimension to the con-
test,” said Cathy Myers, a member of the
regional committee. Their contest on March
1 in Tulare, Calif. drew nearly 70 students
from nine U.S. universities and one Canadian
university. Myer said students filled out an as-
sessment of their dairy knowledge and teams
were formed based on individual proficiency
and skills. The western contest, in its tenth
year, is the only Dairy Challenge competi-
tion that pulls teams together from various
schools. Jeff and Lisa Wilbur hosted the students at
their Rio Blanco dairy west of Tulare. Work-
ing on teams of five-six students, participants
assessed all aspects of the dairy including fa-
cilities, nutrition, financials, reproduction and
animal health. That involved checking out the
TMR ingredients, measuring free stalls and
observation of animal behavier.
Following the assessment period, students
collaborated on a 20 minute team presentation
that detailed their observations and sugges-
tions and is given to a panel of judges that in-
cluded a producer, veterinarian and financial
consultant. Teams were ranked on how well
their evaluations matched the judges who also
did the dairy assessments.
In addition to the Dairy Challenge, stu-
dents attended a team building workshop pre-
sented by College of the Sequoias Dean, Dr.
Louann Waldner. Noel Rosa of Rosa Brothers
Milk Company in Tulare spoke about his
family’s integrated dairy business, entrepre-
neurship and dairy industry careers.
Jeff and Lisa Wilbur participated in a ques-
tion and answer session with the students.
There were also several sponsors attend-
ing the event, networking with the students
throughout the weekend event.
Dr. Stan Henderson, coach of the Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo team said students who par-
ticipate in Dairy Challenge events build their
decision making skills and learn more about
real life dairy situations.
“They can use those skills on the dairy or
in a career in the dairy industry,” Henderson
said. Cal Poly hosts a practice
Dairy Challenge for California
schools in the fall in prepara-
tion for the National contest.
Schools participating in the
Western Regional included Cal
Poly, Fresno State, UC Davis,
Oregon State, Washington
State, University of Idaho,
Texas A&M, Utah State and
University of Alberta.
Please turn to page 10
8 April 2014 DAIRYBUSINESSWEST