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Illinois Ag News Headlines
U of I to Hold Midwest Dairy Challenge at Highland CC
Illinois Ag Connection - 02/11/2019

University of Illinois will host college dairy students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge, Feb. 13-15, in Freeport, Illinois. Dairy Challenge is a prominent educational event for students planning a career in the dairy industry. Over one hundred and twenty students from a combined 21 four-year colleges and technical schools are expected at the 15th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge.

The Midwest event is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC). These regional contests -- plus a national event for about 300 dairy collegiates -- are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers. Over its 17-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare more than 5,000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.

"The University of Illinois is excited to host this year's contest in the Freeport, Illinois area," says Phil Cardoso, an associate professor of Animal Sciences at the U of I Urbana-Champaign, where he is conducting research and providing outreach programs in the area of dairy nutrition and reproduction. "We have three local farms the committee is working with to pull together an exceptional contest for Midwest dairy science students. Thanks to several volunteers, industry professionals and sponsors, the contest is coming together nicely for the second week in February."

At Dairy Challenge, each team of students put textbook knowledge to the ultimate test -- providing solutions for a dairy. Student participants will be assigned to teams, working with students from other colleges whom they are meeting for the first time. These teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and interview farm owners. Then they develop recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health and housing to help the farm optimize performance and profitability.

Teams will present their recommendations to farm owners -- while being evaluated by a panel of judges including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. In addition to this consulting competition, students have ample opportunity for networking and education.

Media, sponsors and dairy enthusiasts are invited to the following Midwest Dairy Challenge events at Highland Community College. Please make advance arrangements by contacting Elizabeth Sarbacker, Midwest Dairy Challenge publicity chair at 608-807-9412.

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