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Morrisville State College students hone their skills at Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge

MORRISVILLE, NY —A group of Morrisville State College students traveled to Waterville, Maine to help local dairy farmers and learn more about the industry.

The 21 students were part of the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge, an innovative three-day event which promotes the future of the dairy industry. They joined more than 100 other students from nine northeast colleges and two Canadian universities.

During the contest, students visited three dairy farms learning about the company’s financials, management, barn, cows and production. Working in one of 24 randomly assigned, mixed university teams, they assessed all aspects of the dairy farm including feeding programs, reproduction and animal health.

“They went through financials and calculated ratios, assessed cows and body-scored them, among other tasks,” said Steve Mooney, assistant professor of dairy science.

Based on information they gathered, they then had to develop a plan and suggest to a panel of judges how farmers could improve their operations. Teams are ranked as platinum, gold, or silver based on how well their evaluations matched judges’ evaluations.

The objective of the evaluation process is to create a real-life situation that stresses the importance of teamwork and professionalism. Industry chair Brett Denny of Vermont DHIA explained, “Not only does the Dairy Challenge teach technical knowledge, it excels in helping students to develop people skills.”

Maine farms evaluated at the 2012 competition included Stonyvale Farm, The Wright Place and Piper Hill Farm. All teams also participated in educational workshops at Flood Brothers dairy farm and attended an industry career fair. Team-building and fun activities were held throughout the weekend to encourage networking among students and sponsors.

In addition to the student competition, a technology seminar for area dairy producers was also held, offering an educational opportunity and networking event.

“Overall I thought our students were an asset to their teams, contributing their vast skills and knowledge,” Mooney said.

Participating from Morrisville State College was:

Grady Ballard, of Georgia, Vt., agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-platinum)
Stacy Brewer, of Bangor, Pa., animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-silver)
Zachary Calhoun, of Alexandria Bay, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-platinum)
Anna Cline, of Kennedy, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-platinum)
Joelle Detrick, of North Collins, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-silver)
Courtney Furst, of Moravia, dairy management B.Tech., (team award-gold)
Megan Hazel, of Montoursville, Pa., dairy management B.Tech., (team award-gold)
Kasey Heineman, of Caledonia, animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-platinum)
David Johnson, of Owego, dairy management B.Tech., (platinum, high team in group)
Katy Kemmeren, of Bainbridge, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-silver)
Joey Lavender, of Skaneateles, agricultural engineering, (team award-silver)
Cora Mason, of Silver Springs, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-silver)
Dillon Murrock, of Watertown, dairy management B.Tech., (team award-silver)
Christopher O’Connor, of New Haven, agricultural business development, B.B.A., (team award-silver)
Magdalene Richmond, of Eden, animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-gold)
Marie Ruther, of Delanson, animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-silver)
Leah Schumacher, of Hilton, dairy management B.Tech., (team award-silver)
Cady Schwab, of Clymer, dairy management B.Tech., (team award-gold)
Mazie Stanford, of Glenfield, animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-silver)
Samantha Sullivan, of Coopers Plains, animal science-dairy A.A.S., (team award-silver)
Anna Williams, of Truxton, dairy management B.Tech., (team award-platinum)
Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.