The annual Western Dairy Challenge contest was held in Visalia, Calif. on February 28-March 1st. After a long competition, the first Platinum team was: Becky Wellnitz, Cal Poly; Craig Niemann, South Dakota State University; Trent Van Leuven, University of Idaho; and Andres Deanda, California State University-Fresno.
Fifty-four students from seven universities were in attendance to compete in this educational event. Students represented Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, California State University-Fresno, Texas A&M University, Washington State University, University of Idaho, South Dakota State University and Utah State University.
Students were assigned to one of 11 aggregate teams and provided with financial information and management data on a local dairy, Rancho Teresita. There, they had the opportunity to observe the dairy operation and ask owners Cornell and Case Kasbergen questions.
Each team analyzed the entire dairy operation, including the milking area, cow performance, feeding protocols, along with other dairy practices, and came up with a report on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning they presented their recommendations to an expert panel of industry judges – discussing the strengths of the operation and opportunities for improvement.
The second Platinum team was composed of Peter Beck, South Dakota State University; Kassie Romero, California State University-Fresno; Carrie Crane, Cal Poly; Oscar Sanchez, Washington State University; and Shay McDonald, Texas A&M University.
The third Platinum team was composed of the following students: Andrew Nicholson, University of Idaho; Jordan VanGrouw, Cal Poly; Stephanie Durfee, Utah State University; Matt Strickland, California State University-Fresno; and Amie Aguiar, Cal Poly.