DelVal students participate in 13th Annual Dairy Challenge

Nov 16, 2015

DelVal Dairy Challenge group

Courtesy: Dr. Bruce Richards. The Northeast Dairy Challenge participants from Delaware Valley University are pictured left to right: Dr. Bruce Richards, Matt Driscoll '18, Matt Ringer '18, and Bridget McConn '17.

Three students from DelVal participated in the 2015 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge Oct. 22 through Oct. 24 at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. The 13th Annual Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge® included 109 students from 12 schools.  Matt Ringer ’18, a dairy science major, Matt Driscoll ’18, an agribusiness major and Bridget McConn ’17, a dairy science major, represented DelVal at the competition.

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

Driscoll competed on a team that placed first and McConn was on a team that placed second. DelVal’s team is hosted by Dr. Bruce Richards, a DelVal faculty member. 

The objective of Dairy Challenge is to create a real-life situation that stresses the importance of teamwork and professionalism.

Industry chair Suzanne Demeester of Novus International, Inc. explained, Dairy Challenge not only teaches technical knowledge, it also excels in helping students develop people skills.   Farms evaluated at the 2015 competition included Schrack Farms in Loganton, Pennsylvania; Ti Glo Farm in Howard, Pennsylvania and Willow Behrer Farms in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania.  All teams also participated in educational workshops at Evergreen Farms in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. Team-building and fun activities were held throughout the weekend to encourage networking among students and dairy industry sponsors.

First place teams, which were named after top sponsors of the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge, included: Holtz-Nelson Dairy Consultants, LLC, Semex and Merck Animal Health. The 2016 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge will be hosted by SUNY Cobleskill.