Monday, April 7, 2014

Who has more fun at Dairy Challenge, students or industry folks?

Even the cows are excited to be part of the Dairy Challenge experience
When I was in college, I jumped at every chance to travel to a dairy conference, competition or meeting. So much fun. Why? So many other people who love dairy cows as much as I do.

Fast forward more than half a decade and it’s still so much fun, but for different reasons. The learning doesn’t end at graduation, but my role at dairy challenge certainly did. Instead of being the one giving the presentations about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a dairy and making recommendations to the owner, I now am Facebooking, Tweeting and taking photos. Gotta love working in public relations!

As an industry person, I don’t see the financials or even any of the records like the students do, but it’s fun to see what goes on behind the scenes in what we call Dairy Challenge Central. Everyone is busy all the time, but it’s still fun. Great people. All of these events are basically a dairy industry reunion with people I don’t see nearly enough. 

For more about Dairy Challenge, check out @DairyChallenge on twitter and Facebook

It was also fun to present about advocating for the dairy industry. For tips, check out one of my blog posts. My fellow YDLI alum and friend, Betsey, and I also showed students how to handle hot topics, such as antibiotic use on farms, with consumers. So much fun!

She was the producer and I was a consumer at the grocery store concerned about antibiotics in milk and farming practices. For the record, there are NO antibiotics in ANY milk you purchase in the store or any milk that leaves the farm. How do I know this? The milk is tested before it is accepted at the processing plant and any milk testing positive is sent away and never reaches the human food supply. Milk is also tested many other times throughout the process on the farm. This is something dairy farmers and the dairy industry takes very seriously, so consumers can rest assured that milk they purchase is safe and nutritious. 

Betsey and I discussing milk safety

Here's a recap of the 2014 National Dairy Challenge...

Students at the farm
Students and producers during the Q&A at the farm
Students learning about dairy nutrition during one of the pre-tours
Molly from Alta Genetics visiting with students

The producers welcoming students to the farm
Each team had 12 minutes to ask questions of the host farm producers

 Students presenting
The WSU team presenting their recommendations and evaluation to judges and the host farm

Dairy Academy students
Dairy Academy students
Career Fair

Purina reps having fun at the career fair
Johnny from CRI visiting with students about careers in the dairy industry
Farm Credit reps taking a break between groups of students
Behind the scenes

Fun with LSU friends
Having fun before the contest starts
The IT team hard at work
Half of our awesome PR team
Western Washington dairy girls in Dairy Challenge Central
Taking official team photos

So, who has more fun at Dairy Challenge, the students or the industry folks? Both! 

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