The sixth annual Midwest Dairy Challenge drew 66 dairy and animal science students from 15 universities and colleges to the Shisler Center in Wooster, Ohio, February 11-13.
The Dairy Challenge is an innovative management analysis competition developed in 2002 by industry and university professionals, that also involves dairy owners in identifying opportunities for making their businesses more efficient and profitable
This year's contest, hosted by The Ohio State University, included students from University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Lakeshore Technical College, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University, Ohio State University-Agricultural Technical Institute, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the UW-Madison Farm & Industry Short Course.
Working in four- or five-person, mixed-university teams, students assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and then presented their highest priority recommendations to a panel of judges and the dairy business owners.
Judges chose three teams as Platinum winners, the contest's highest distinction. The individuals who comprised these teams were Holly Bruns, South Dakota State; Ryan Conklin, Ohio State; Sabrina Eick, OSU-ATI; Andrea Eilenfeld, Ohio State; Allison Flinn, Iowa State; Tricia Gates, Lakeshore Technical College; Nathanial Guy, OSU-ATI; Katherine Harmelink, UW-Madison; David Hutchinson, UW-Platteville; Darci O'Brien, UW-Madison; Brenda Reiter, University of Minnesota; Stephanie Retz, UW-River Falls; Natalie Schreyer, Kansas State; and Ed Weisgarber, OSU-ATI.
The Host Farms
Host farms for the 2010 Midwest Dairy Challenge were Steinhurst Dairy and Ayers Family Dairy.
Steinhurst Dairy is a seventh-generation dairy farm. Myron Steiner and his three sons, Carlton, David and John, started with a 25-cow dairy in 1959. As time progressed, David and John took over the day-to-day operations. The family formed an LLC in 1995 with John, David, and David's sons, Eric and Kurt. After the untimely death of David Steiner last February, the operation reorganized its leadership with John, Kurt, and Eric. All three of them are involved in various aspects of the operation. Currently, the farm consists of 410 milking cows and 1,200 acres.
The Ayers Family Dairy is certainly a family-operated dairy farm. Carl Ayers returned home in 1968 to assume management responsibilities along with brother, Steve, and parents Ed and Ina. Carl's wife Janet and Steve's wife Deb help manage the dairy full-time as well. Kathy Davis returned to help manage the farming operation full-time in 1994. Jesse Ayers returned to help manage the farming operation full-time in 2002. David Ayers is currently helping with the farming operation and taking agronomy courses in crop and soil science at OSU-ATI. Today, the herd consists of 693 cows and 630 heifers.
About Dairy Challenge
The Midwest contest is one of four regional events associated with the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. NAIDC was established in 2002 as a management contest spanning all phases of a specific dairy business. It strives to incorporate a higher-learning atmosphere with practical application, in turn generating highly qualified graduates to lead and further improve the dairy industry. Click here
for more information.