College Students Participate in 8th Annual Western Regional Dairy Challenge

March 14, 2013 10:57 AM

Competition produces winners from across the U.S.

Source: Western Regional Dairy Challenge news release

Sixty-one students from seven western US and one Canadian university traveled to Everett, Wash., for the 8th annual Western Regional Dairy Challenge Feb. 28 to March 2, 2013.

The Western Regional Dairy Challenge is an innovative, three-day educational competition designed to prepare students for dairy careers. Working in mixed-university teams of five or six students, participants assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm, including facilities, nutrition, financials, reproduction, and animal health. Students collaborated on a 20-minute team presentation that detailed their observations and suggestions to a panel of judges. Teams were ranked based on how well their evaluations matched the judges’ evaluations of the dairy operation.

Along with the competition, students were treated to educational workshops on silage management and safety by Dr. Keith Bolsen, Professor Emeritus Kansas State University and social media and public relations by Michele Ruby of DMI, Inc. on Thursday afternoon.

Jim and Andy Werkhoven welcomed the teams to their farm on Friday and participated in a question-and-answer session with students. Team-building and fun activities were held through the weekend to encourage networking among students and agribusiness sponsors.

First place teams, which were named for Washington counties:

Team 4 King: Karessa Mast, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo; Josina Kasper, University of Idaho; Amy Nelson, Washington State University; Marissa Montez, California State University-Fresno; Jonathan Holub, Texas A & M University.

Team 6 Thurston: Emma Shoaf, Utah State University; Melisa Stilson, University of Idaho; Micah DeGroot, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo; Kayla Nielsen, University of Alberta; Trevor Slegers, California State University-Fresno.

Team 5 Pierce: Beverly Shirts, University of Idaho; Jami Lady, California State University-Fresno; Anna Gibson, Washington State University; Jared DeGroot, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo; Lindsay Simmons, Utah State University.

Second place teams:

Team 11 Pacific: Josh Veenendaal, California State University- Fresno; Hannah Symonds, Washington State University; James Weber, California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo; Cierra Olmstead, University of Idaho; Jacob Miller, Utah State University.

Team 7 Lewis: Briana Arnold, Washington State University; Rob Diepersloot, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo; Leonardo DeLeon, California State University-Fresno; Brianna Williams, University of Idaho; Shelby Froland, University of Alberta.

Team 9 Klikitat: Karly Nieuwkoop, California State University- Fresno; Kelli Carstensen, California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo; Anna Haines, Texas A & M University; Jessica Reynolds, University of Idaho; Boyd Funk, Washington State University; Dallin Buttars, Utah State University.

Dr. Larry Fox, Washington State University and a committee of dairy industry representatives organized the Challenge. A long list of volunteers was important to the competition’s success. For more information about next year’s contest, please contact Chris Dei at

To become a sponsor, contact Shawna Martinho at All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Contributing sponsor listings are available on the website.

The Western Regional Dairy Challenge is under the guidance and support of the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC), which was established in April 2002 as a management contest to incorporate evaluation of all aspects of a specific dairy business. For more information, visit The national contest is slated for April 4-6, and will be hosted by Michigan State University, Ohio State University and Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Ind.

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