UMaine Students Compete in North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

Visalia, Calif.– Four students from the University of Maine competed in the 16th Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC) this spring in Visalia, California. The event drew 230 students from 37 colleges across the U.S. and Canada.

The Dairy Challenge is a unique, real-world experience where students work as a team and apply their college coursework to evaluate and provide solutions for an operating dairy farm. Seven California dairies participated in this event. For the UMaine students, this was their first opportunity to set foot on a large western dairy farm that milks approximately 6,000 cows. The sheer size of the operation provided an extra challenge for the Maine students.

Teams were evaluated on the quality and accuracy of their presentations, the identification of management opportunities and their recommendations to improve animal care and management. The panel of five judges included dairy producers, veterinarians, finance specialists and other agribusiness personnel. In addition to the competition, the students also had the opportunity to hear about the latest research and talk about career opportunities with industry professionals.

The University of Maine team of seniors from the School of Food and Agriculture consisted of Alexa Grissinger, Kambrea Atkinson, Dominic Barra and Dakota Stewart. UMaine Associate Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Extension Dairy Specialist David Marcinkowski coached the team. Barra and Grissinger will attend veterinary school in the fall, while Atkinson and Stewart will pursue careers in agribusiness.

students dairy challenge marcinkowski
From left to right: Dominic Barra, Alexa Grissinger, Dr. David Marcinkowski, Kambrea Atkinson and Dakota Stewart.