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The 2020 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge concluded February 14th in River Falls. The event proved to once again be great success with 113 students from 18 schools, coaches and volunteers gathering on Wednesday, February 12th in frigid River Falls, Wisconsin. Starting on the first day, students were given the opportunity to attend breakouts on farm financials, DairyComp 305, PC Dart and received general farm visit information to be utilized in the presentation they would be building over the next few days. The students were able to meet up with their teammates and mentors and bond over dinner and Kahoot. The night concluded with teams reviewing data packets on their farm and planning for their visit the following day.

The students traveled to one of three farms on the second day to audit the operation. The second day began with students boarding buses as early as 7:00 to head off to their respective farms. This year’s farms included Luckwaldt Agriculture, Inc of Woodville, Jon-De Farm of Baldwin, and Jil-Ro-Sie Holsteins of Ellsworth. Students were given the chance to walk through the farm with an industry mentor and evaluate the different parts of each operation including calf care, parlor management, lactating and transition pens, feed management etc... Students were also given the opportunity to ask the producers questions about their farms to gain more information on the overall farm operation. In the afternoon students took their gathered information and began to build their farm presentations up until dinner. That evenings’ dinner included a welcome from Provost and the Chair of UW-River Falls Department of Animal and Food Science. Following dinner, participants were invited to a game night with event sponsors.

On the final day, panels of judges listed and evaluated teams of students on the 20-minute presentations. The students covered strengths and areas of opportunity for their respective farm with farm owners present. While results were being calculated, students had the opportunity to network with companies at an innovation fair. Then the three-day event concluded with an award ceremony.

The judges awarded the following teams with the first and second place ranking on each farm among the 24 total teams participating.

Farm 1, Luckwaldt Agriculture, Inc.

Team 3

First Place: Team 3, Courtney Ewert – University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Marina Hoeve – Lakeshore Technical College, Michael Moede University of Wisconsin-Madison, Brittany Neisius – Chippewa Valley Technical College, William Vander Woude – Dordt University

Team 4

Second Place: Team 4, Kalli Mosher – Dordt University, Zachary Servais – University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kendra Spier – Iowa State University, Nikki Statz – Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Farm 2, Jon-De Farm

Team 11

First Place: Team 11, Miriah Dershem – Michigan State University, Judd Saemrow – Northeast Iowa Community College, Sierra Swanson – University of Minnesota, Kate Watkins – Purdue University

Team 15

Second Place: Team 15, Emily Annexstad – University of Minnesota, Bailey Larson – University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Alexis Lins – Fox Valley Technical College, Suzie McKraig – Purdue University, Maxwell Udelhoven – Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Farm 3, Jil-Ro-Sie Holsteins

Team 19

First Place: Team 19, Katie Buatois – Purdue University, Reece Burnett – Kansas State University, Ava Gard – University of Wisconsin-Madison, Amanda Vance – College of Ozarks

Team 17

Second Place: Team 17, Elizabeth Beckmann – Iowa State University, Beka McDonald – Michigan State University, Austin Raymond – Northeast Iowa Community College, Amanda Schmitmeyer – The Ohio State University, Katherine Wells – University of Wisconsin Madison

The Midwest event is one of four regional contests sponsored each year by North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC). These regional contests – plus a national event for about 250 dairy collegiates – are funded through generous support by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers. Dairy Challenge has helped prepare over 5,000 students for careers as dairy owners or managers, consultants, researchers, veterinarians or other dairy professionals.

The 2021 Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge will be hosted in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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. The 2020 national event will be March 28-30 in Green Bay, Wisconsin; details are at