Analyzing a situation, strategizing the fix and convincing the powers that be – it's an exercise putting everything college dairy students are taught into one competition - Western Regional Dairy Challenge. This year, the contest will also be donating assembled wagons to the local community; the result of a team building exercise. Fifty-nine dairy students from eight universities representing six states and one Canadian province will participate February 25-27, 2016 in Tulare, California. Headquarters for the event is the College of the Sequoias, Tulare. The regional event leads to the national contest of the same format, held April 7-9, 2016 in Syracuse, NY.

Registered students and coaches hail from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, California State University-Fresno, Oregon State University, Texas A & M University, University of Alberta, University of Idaho, Utah State University and Washington State University.

In addition to the competition, students have the opportunity for networking and education. Thursday evening activities feature a presentation by Farm Credit West's David Hill and Landon Fernandes - "Understanding Balance Sheets and Income & Expense Statements." Students will also participate in a team building exercise. Teams will race to assemble a child's wagon, and after finished, will donate them to local children's charities through the Visalia Rescue Mission and the Lighthouse Rescue Mission of Tulare.

At Dairy Challenge, each team of students puts textbook knowledge to practical use. Teams inspect an operating dairy, analyze farm data and conduct a question and answer session with farm owners. Then, each team develops recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management. Teams present their recommendations to farm owners while being evaluated by a panel of five judges – including dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and industry personnel. Western Regional Dairy Challenge is organized and administered by a volunteer committee of allied dairy industry professionals.

About Dairy Challenge
NAIDC is an innovative event for students in dairy programs at North American post-secondary institutions. Its mission is 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. Over its 14-year national history, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare more than 5,000 students for careers as farm owners and managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.

The 2016 national competition and Dairy Challenge Academy will be April 7-9, 2016 in Syracuse, NY. Four regional contests are held in late fall and winter; details are at
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