More than 285 students will participate in the Dairy Challenge® and complementary Dairy Challenge Academy in Liverpool, NY, April 9-11, 2015. Students will come from 40 colleges from across the U.S. and two Canadian provinces to put their textbook knowledge to work by evaluating a dairy operation and developing recommendations to optimize success and animal care.
North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC) is funded through the generous support of 120 agribusinesses and dairy farms. Dairy Challenge was started 14 years ago through cooperation between universities, dairy producers and agribusinesses. The event expanded in 2013 with the Dairy Challenge Academy, providing hands-on learning where teams of students evaluate a dairy operation with the help of dairy industry professionals serving as Academy Advisors.
This year about 130 students will compete in the national contest and 155 students will participate in the Academy. Between the national contest and Academy, collegiate participants will visit six dairy farms in the surrounding Syracuse area.
The event in April is hosted by the Northeast Dairy Challenge committee, a group of agribusiness professionals and university personnel. Each year, the Northeast committee also coordinates a regional Dairy Challenge. The national event will be hosted in 2015 and 2016 in Liverpool, NY, giving the Northeast an opportunity to showcase New York’s thriving dairy industry.
Contest participants will inspect an operating dairy farm, analyze farm data and ask questions of farm owners. Then each team develops recommendations, which will be presented to farm owners and a panel of five judges. At a concluding banquet, eight college teams will be announced as award winners, meaning their recommendations most closely match those of the official judges.
In addition to the national competition and Academy, students will also participate in other educational and networking activities such as interactive stations on a tour farm, participation in panel discussions with young dairy producers and dairy processors, presentations on cutting-edge research and industry trends, and interaction with agribusinesses in a career fair.