Dordt College News

Dordt students apply real-world training at Dairy Challenge Academy

April 22, 2013

Dordt College participated in the first annual Dairy Challenge Academy, part of the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, on April 4 to 6 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The team of four Dordt students included sophomore Steven Broersma (Sunnyside, Washington), senior Karina Fast (Bingham Lake, Minnesota), junior Vernon Oostra (Hull, Iowa), and sophomore Danielle Zuidema (DeMotte, Indiana). In total, 223 students from 37 colleges and universities from the United States and Canada participated.

At the Dairy Challenge Academy students took part in a two-day educational experience where they worked in teams. Each team received production and farm management data from a working dairy, conducted in-person inspection of the dairy, and interviewed herd managers about their operation. Teams then developed a farm analysis and provided recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing, and financial management. They concluded the challenge by presenting their recommendations and fielding questions from a panel of judges.

“It was great to get to know so many fellow students and various producers,” Zuidema said. “I loved hearing about everyone’s backgrounds and about how they got to where they are today.”

“The highlight for me was being able to work with dairy consultants and see what they look for when evaluating an operation,” said Broersma. “One of the best things they taught us was how to work with a producer to meet his goals and find solutions for specific problems that he might be having. All operations are different, and there is no single magic formula that can make all dairies successful.”

The event was co-hosted by Purdue University, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University.

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