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Dordt College News

Dordt College takes on the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

February 17, 2013

Dordt College students competed in a contest that puts what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice in a true-to-life dairy consultation in the Midwest Regional chapter’s North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge on February 6 through 8, an event hosted by Lakeshore Technical Contest in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Dordt College junior Vern Oostra (Hull, Iowa) was part of a team that earned a first place finish. Others on his team of five include students from Iowa State University, Northeast Iowa Community College, Lakeshore Technical College, and University of Illinois.

Teams of five were created, and no students were allowed to compete on a team with a classmate from their own school. Each team was given access to all dairy records and had two hours to survey a dairy, look into their operation, and find areas for improvement. Teams then developed a comprehensive program including recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking, procedures, animal health, housing and financial management. On the final day of competition, teams presented their recommendations to a panel of judges where they were scored on their presentation, their assessment, and their responses to the judges’ questions.

“The competition is designed to simulate a real-world experience. In the real world you don’t always get to work with people that you know well as part of consultant team,” said Dordt College Professor of Agriculture John Olthoff. “In this case they don’t even know those on their team before the start of the competition.”

“They have to take in a lot of information in a short amount of time,” Olthoff continued. For that reason, teams often divide the duties and have to come together and share their findings and draw conclusions based on what others in the group have found.

Dordt College sent four students (the maximum number of students allowed from an institution) to the competition. They were agriculture majors Oostra, junior Peter de Jong (Hanford, California), senior Curtis Van Grouw (Rock Valley, Iowa), and senior Wendy White (Cohocoton, New York). The competition was limited to 80 students. Recognition was only awarded to first and second place finishers.

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