Virginia Tech's Dairy Challenge Team, a group of nine students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, competed as members of mixed-school teams at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, held Nov. 9-10 in Newberry, S.C.

Clemson University hosted the competition that drew 60 students from 11 colleges throughout the southeast region of the United States. Students put their education and practical knowledge to the ultimate test – analyzing dairy farm businesses.

Each team of students reviewed the production and financial records of a commercial dairy operation, followed by a two-hour farm visit. The teams then summarized the farm’s business performance and developed a set of management recommendations that were presented to a panel of five industry experts.

Virginia Tech’s winning dairy science majors are

Alli Davis, a senior from Philadelphia, Tenn., first place team;  
Roxanne Seltzer, a junior from Selinsgrove, Pa., first place team;  
Clayborne Zimmerman, a junior from Walkersville, Md., second place team; and  
Isaac Hammock, a senior from Chatham, Va., second place team  .

Professors Mark Hanigan and Bob James in the Department of Dairy Science coached the students. Stephanie Neal of North Canton, Ohio, a graduate student majoring in dairy science, assisted with the training.

“The competition was intense, and Virginia Tech students met the challenge,” Hanigan said. “They enhanced their team building skills and gained a broader perspective of the dairy industry.”

Four students will be selected to represent Virginia Tech as a team at the national contest that will be held April 4-5 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge facilitates education, communication, and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities that enhance the development of the dairy industry and its leaders.



This article was written by Lois Caliri.
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