The North American Intercollegiate Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge took place February 7-9th in Madison, Wisconsin and ISU students were in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams! The Challenge allows dairy science students to apply theory and learning to real world dairy while working as part of a team. Dr. Hugo Ramirez is ISU's coach and team members include Cassie Krebill, Kassidy Buse, Brady Goetz, Breyer Ott and Sabrina Portner.
The Midwest competition is unique as ISU does not participate as a school but rather students are regrouped with students from multiple universities and compete as an aggregate team with no distinctive affiliation. There were a total of 24 teams of 4 or 5 members distributed at 3 different farms. Students have a session where they review paper and computer records addressing animal performance, nutrition, financial status. The next morning they visit the farm and perform and on-site assessment of facilities and management to identify bottle necks previously detected through the record analyses. Students then prepare a presentation to present their finding, propose solutions and recommendations along with economic impact of their suggestions. A panel of 5 judges evaluates the team, ask questions and deliberate on rankings. The panel includes a dairy nutritionist, an Ag credit agent/banker, a veterinarian, a dairy producer and a reproduction specialist.
Dr. Hugo Ramirez says " This event is very special because students are exposed to real farms and have a chance to put their classroom knowledge to the test in real life scenarios. It gives them a glimpse of what reality has for them in the short future upon graduation! Aside from academic experience, one of the most highlighted outcomes is the opportunity to network with students and professionals in the dairy industry. "