Four Cornell seniors won first-place awards and $200 scholarships at the 2012 Dairy Challenge in Roanoke, Va., where they put their textbook knowledge to the test by consulting for dairy farms. The team from Cornell consisted of Theodore Christoph, Daniel Durfee, Jordan Fisher and Ariel Garland, all animal science majors, coached by Michael Van Amburgh, an associate professor, and Betsey Howland, an extension support specialist, both in the Department of Animal Science.
The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge attracted 128 students from 32 U.S. and Canadian colleges and has helped prepare 3,500 students for careers in the dairy industry and veterinary medicine. In addition to the consulting competition, each student had networking and educational opportunities.
The two-day competition began with a walk-through of an operating dairy, analysis of farm data and a question-answer session with farm owners. Each team developed recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management and presented their recommendations to dairy farmers. Teams were evaluated by a panel of five judges, including dairy producers, veterinarians and farm finance specialists.