The 91st Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest in Springfield, Missouri provided a refreshing blend of the familiar and the fresh.
Coach Lloyd Metzger, Laura Mealy, Austin Asche, Lee Alexander, Cassandra Hulstein, and Justin Oschner.
Familiar was the team at the top. South Dakota State University once again finished first in the All Products category, led by Cassandra Hulstein who took overall individual honors. South Dakota's victory was a solid one as teammates Austin Asche and Lee Alexander placed third and fourth respectively in the Individual All Products category.
South Dakota State's Laura Mealy also placed first in the Individual Graduate Student All Products competition.
South Dakota State's team victory earned their institution the Shirley Seas Scholarship, sponsored by Chr. Hansen, Inc. SDSU's head coach, Lloyd Metzger won the Aurelia and George Weigold Coach's Award.
Fresh were the teams who participated in the contest for the first time, or for the first time in years. Loughry College of Northern Ireland, under the tutelage of Michigan State University's Head Coach John Partridge acquitted itself well with a team victory in butter judging.
Vicosa Federal University of Brazil, coached by Iowa State University's Stephanie Clark also participated Vicosa Federal's Renata Cassia Campos took first place in the ice cream competition and placed fifth in the all products competition.
Although South Dakota State University won the overall completion, they had to share the hardware in some of the product categories. The University of Wisconsin, led by Katie Trokey's second place, took team honors in the Cottage Cheese division.
The Washington State University/University of Idaho School of Food Science team collected first place in the Ice Cream competition on the strength of Lisa Piontek's second place.
Lisa Schimdt's individual first in Yogurt lifted Iowa State University to first place in that category.
South Dakota State took home first place trophies in Milk and Cheddar Cheese, with Austin Asche leading the way with first place finishes in both of those categories.
Loughry College's depth carried it to first place in Butter, even though none placed among the top three individuals.
Iowa State University's Michael Rathe won the 2012 Joe Larson Merit Award, which recognizes the contestant who exhibits leadership, professionalism and maturity and demonstrates the greatest understanding of the importance of sensory evaluation in the production of high quality dairy products.
The number of schools participating in this year's contest nearly doubled over last year. Kansas State University competed for the first time since 2001. Pennsylvania State University brought a team to the competition for the first time since 2005. Clemson University, North Carolina A&T, and Southern Illinois University all returned to the contest for the first time since 2009.
We welcome them all and look forward to their continued participation.
This year's contest was hosted by DairiConcepts, LLC of Springfield, Missouri. DairiConcepts provided a terrific venue for the contest and their hospitality was appreciated by all the teams and individual contestants.
This year's contest also brought the bittersweet announcement that Arthur Nesbitt will retire from the Dairy Products Evaluation Contest's board of directors.
After the 2009 contest, the Food Processing Suppliers Association Foundation terminated their long-term, very generous support for the contest and some declared the contest "dead." Arthur strongly disagreed with that diagnosis and made it his personal mission to keep the contest running.
The most critical need for the contest was a firm, reliable fiscal footing, so Arthur volunteered to head the contest's fundraising effort. He assembled a strong team and together they attracted enough money that, for the first time since 2009, support was available to underwrite some of the travel expenses incurred by the teams.
Arthur's hard work and vision was vindicated, not just by the contest's survival, but by its renaissance. The number of schools participating in this year's contest is a direct result of the hard work he and his team invested over these past four years.
We will miss his leadership and energy. The contest probably would not have survived without him. His retirement leaves a strong legacy for the rest of us to live up to.
This contest would not be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors. Please thank them whenever you get a chance and if you are not yet a sponsor, please consider supporting this worthy endeavor.
Food Processing Suppliers Association
Hilmar Cheese Company
CHR Hansen, Inc.
United States Department of Agriculture
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
Nelson Jameson, Inc.
Girton Manufacturing, Inc.
International Dairy Foods Association Dairy Recognition and Education Foundation
For more information about the contest, please visit: http://dairyproductscontest.org/