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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- ciency levels. “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
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