Students participate in dairy challenge

Students Apply Real-World Training at North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

Dordt College participated in the 16th Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® held in Visalia, California. In total, 230 students from 37 colleges across the U.S. and Canada attended this educational event. These students are training for careers in the dairy industry as farmers, researchers, educators, financial analysts, nutritionists, farm service providers, and veterinarians.

The team from Dordt College consisted of Brent Kamper (Sioux Center, Iowa), Nicholas Leyendekker (Visalia, California), Logan Renes (Rock Valley, Iowa), and Rebecca Steiger (Lynden, Washington). The team is coached by Dordt Agriculture Professor John Olthoff.

Dairy Challenge® is an innovative three-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. It enables students to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy, while working as part of a four-person team. In its 16-year history, Dairy Challenge has helped train more than 5,000 students through the national contest, Dairy Challenge Academy, and four regional contests conducted annually.

Collegiate participants visited seven dairy farms in California, as part of their training to help farmers evaluate and adapt management to optimize success and animal care. Also, industry professionals presented cutting-edge research, new programs, and career opportunities to students.

The Dairy Challenge Academy was developed in 2013 to expand this educational and networking event to more college students. Academy student-participants also analyzed and developed recommendations for operating dairies; however, the Academy was organized in mixed-university teams with two Advisors to help coach these younger students. 

Academy participants from Dordt College included Alayna Gerhardt (Mendon, Illinois) and Stephanie Westra (Primghar, Iowa).

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