UMaine Students Compete in North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

Visalia, CA — Four students from the University of Maine competed in the 17th Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® this spring. The event, based in Visalia, Calif., included 235 students from 38 colleges across the U.S. and Canada.

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. Six California dairies participated in this event. For the UMaine students, this was their first opportunity to set foot on a large western dairy farm milking approximately 2,800 cows. The 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. Team presentations were evaluated by a panel of five judges, including 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.

While in California the team also toured Maddox Dairy. This progressive, well-managed dairy milks over 4,800 cows and takes advantage of their herd’s excellent genetics through an extensive, in-house In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer program.

The Dairy Challenge is an opportunity for the students to test their knowledge against students from other schools and to observe dairying in other parts of the country.

The University of Maine team of seniors from the School of Food and Agriculture consisted of Carly Amsden of Eliot, Maine, Alexandra Banks of Lee, Maine, Gianna Dettorre of Naples, Florida, and Lauren Guptill of Waldoboro, Maine. Dr. David Marcinkowski coached the team. All four students will graduate in May and pursue careers in agriculture.