UMaine students compete in 2022 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

A team of four animal and veterinary sciences students from the University of Maine ranked third among six teams at the 2022 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge this month. 

Elaina Cobb from Billerica, Mass., Rebecca French from Topsham, Zoe McNally from Bowdoin and Kaity Walorz from Lakeville, Mass., competed against 94 students from 22 universities across the U.S. and Canada. 

This was the first time in two years that dairy students were able to compete in the national Dairy Challenge, held this year in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dairy Challenge was established in 2002 to develop tomorrow’s dairy leaders and enhance progress of the dairy industry by providing education, communication and networking among students, producers, and agribusiness and university personnel.

The Dairy Challenge contest is a three-day event when dairy students tour and evaluate a dairy farm based on production, health, breeding, financial data and the business’ short- and long-term goals. Six teams are assigned to a given dairy, where each assesses the operation to identify strength and opportunities for improvement, and then presents their findings in a 20-minute presentation to a panel of judges. The judges evaluate the presentation’s organization, visual aids, content and how students respond to questions. The assessment of the farm and recommendations are heavily weighted. 

The four UMaine students drew from their coursework, what they had learned from their peers and Maine’s dairy farmers, and hands-on experience at the J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center during the competition. The UMaine students were coached by David Marcinkowski, associate professor of animal and veterinary sciences at UMaine’s School of Food and Agriculture and Extension dairy specialist, and Glenda Pereira, assistant Extension professor and dairy specialist.