Recipients of the Dairy Challenge Founders Award presented at the 2016 Dairy Challenge national contest in Syracuse, NY include (from the left) Michael Van Amburgh, Ph.D. of Cornell University, Kas Ingawa of Dairy Records Management Service and Barry Putnam of Farm Credit East.

North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC) awarded the first-ever Dairy Challenge Founders Award at the national Dairy Challenge event in Syracuse, NY in April. Recipients of the award included Kas Ingawa, Barry Putnam and Michael Van Amburgh, Ph.D.
To celebrate this year's 15th anniversary of Dairy Challenge, the Dairy Challenge Founders Award was established to recognize volunteers with extraordinary, consistent contributions and/or distinguished service to NAIDC. Ingawa, Putnam and Van Amburgh received the honor during the awards banquet at the 2016 national Dairy Challenge event, an event that all three contributed numerous hours to make a success.

Owen Bewley, chairman of the NAIDC Board of Directors, presented the awards and highlighted the following contributions of the award winners:

· Kas Ingawa – As a staff member of Dairy Records Management Service (DRMS), Ingawa has played an important role since the beginning years of Dairy Challenge. Each year, he leads the information technology team at the regional and national events, ensuring complete and accurate farm data is available to the students. Ingawa is also instrumental in the Southern Regional Dairy Challenge Committee.

· Barry Putnam – Putnam of Farm Credit East is a long time industry supporter of Dairy Challenge and has been very successful encouraging the involvement of other agribusinesses and organizations to sponsor the program. Over the years, Putnam has served in many roles including member of the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge Committee, NAIDC board member for two terms and NAIDC board chairman. Following his involvement on the national Board, Putnam has continued his active dedication to NAIDC by serving as chairman of the 2015 and 2016 national Dairy Challenge events in Syracuse, NY.

· Michael Van Amburgh, Ph.D. – Van Amburgh of Cornell University has not only been a coach of many successful teams competing at Dairy Challenge, but has contributed significantly to NAIDC. He served a two terms on the NAIDC board, was NAIDC board chairman and has been very involved in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge Committee, helping to plan a number of regional and national events. One of Van Amburgh's greatest contributions to Dairy Challenge was his vision of expanding the program's impact on students, sponsors and other stakeholders by establishing the Dairy Challenge Academy, which has doubled the number of students involved at the national event each year.

"Many volunteers have contributed countless hours toward the establishment and growth of Dairy Challenge over the last 15 years, and we are pleased to introduce this award to help recognize those with exceptional and distinguished service," said Bewley. "Kas, Barry and Mike have been integral in helping to make Dairy Challenge the premier program for tomorrow's dairy leaders."

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 15-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 next national event will be March 30-April 1, 2017 in Visalia, CA. Four regional events are held in late fall and winter; details are at

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