Evan Cole Dipersloot, an animal sciences student in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), hopes to one day work as a dairy cattle nutritionist. He is one step closer to reaching his goal after winning first place for his original research presentation at the 2019 Southern Regional American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Student Affiliate Division (SAD) Meeting with the UF Dairy Science Club.
The 2019 Southern Regional ADSA-SAD Meeting was held at North Carolina State University during Feb. 21-23. The intercollegiate contest included eight schools. Dipersloot gave an oral presentation of his research on the factors that contribute to the nutrition level of corn fed to dairy cattle.
“It was definitely nice to be in a competition around people with similar interests.” Dipersloot said. “They present on a bunch of different topics, so you learn a lot.”
While Dipersloot grew up in the dairy industry, that background is by no means a prerequisite to participating in the UF Dairy Science Club. Pre-veterinary student, Huridises Torrealba, joined the club as a way to broaden her horizons and learn about a new species of animal. “Our club welcomes anyone regardless of experience; I didn’t have any,” Torrealba said.
Through her involvement in the club, Torrealba has competed in several ADSA meetings and spent two summers in Clovis, New Mexico for the U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium. At this year’s Southern Regional ADSA-SAD Meeting, she earned second place in the dairy foods division for her oral presentation on lactose-free milk.
In addition to Dipersloot and Torrealba’s success, the UF Dairy Science Club also earned recognition for second place in the dairy quiz bowl, and third place in the website development category. Torrealba encourages students to join the club and consider attending the ADSA Meetings. “There are no expenses for those who are truly interested and want to get their foot in the door in the dairy industry,” she said.
The club believes public education is one of the most important aspects of the organization and is active in the Gainesville area. “It’s really important to get in the forefront and show the public what the industry is really like,” Torrealba said.
“The students really do care about the dairy industry, and they become advocates for it, which is really important,” said Jimena Laporta, the UF Dairy Science Club adviser.
Members help with 4-H and FFA dairy programs across the state, volunteer at the UF/IFAS Family Day at the Dairy Farm event and host Dairy Daze, an elementary student field trip where students learn about the industry and more about where their food comes from.
“A lot of younger kids think that milk comes from the store, so it’s cool to get to show them that it’s an animal product,” Dipersloot said.
The club meetings are held bi-monthly with guest speakers and educational seminars. In addition to opportunities to travel to ADSA meetings, the club offers local industry tours and dairy artificial insemination training to any student who wishes to become certified to inseminate cows.
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. The college has received more total (national and regional combined) USDA teaching awards than any other institution. The University of Florida is ranked No. 8 in the list of top 10 best public universities by U.S. News & World Report. Visit the CALS website at cals.ufl.edu, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.