University of Minnesota-Maroon won the Top Overall Team award at the Vernon County Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held Sunday, September 19 during the Vernon County Fair, Viroqua, Wis. The Top Overall Individual award was awarded to Mathew Gunst of University of Minnesota-Maroon. Winning Top Oral Reasons Team was University of Minnesota-Gold while the Top Oral Reasons Individual was Ashley Hagenow representing the University of Minnesota-Gold.
Breed category winners were announced for Jersey, Guernsey, Brown Swiss and Holstein. High Team Jerseys was won by University of Minnesota-Maroon. High Jersey Individual was Mathew Gunst, University of Minnesota-Maroon. Guernsey High Team was University of Wisconsin-Madison-Cardinal Team. Kylie Nickels of that team was named Guernsey High Individual. University of Minnesota-Maroon was Brown Swiss High Team, while Brown Swiss High Individual was Mason Kruse, University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Iowa State University topped the High Team Holstein category and Elise Bleck, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison-Cardinal won the High Individual Holsteins.
Fourteen teams traveled to compete from five states across the United States. These students from four and two year degree programs learn many life skills such as confidence, public speaking, critical thinking, logic and good sportsmanship as they vie to top awards. Many will become future dairy leaders in the industry.
The Vernon County Fair has supported this contest since the beginning. Local cattle exhibitors and dairy farmers provide high quality animals to represent each breed within the event. Vernon and Monroe County youth exhibitors provided their expertise in leading the animals for each class so that competitors could view the cattle from all angles. All were treated to a pizza party following the morning classes.
Event sponsors included Vita Plus Corporation, James Crowley Fund, Accelerated Genetics, BMO Harris Bank, Vernon County Ag Society, James Crowley Fund, American Jersey Cattle Association, Holstein USA, Brown Swiss Association, American Guernsey Association, American Milking Shorthorn Association, Central Star/Select Sires Cooperative, Cheryl Marti, Culver’s/Tom and Karen Wakefield, American Foods Group, Citizens First Bank, Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association, Nelson Agri-Center, , International Protein Sires, Kwik Trip, Lely/NA, Midwest Livestock Systems/GEA, Prairie Farms Dairy, ST Genetics, VES-Artex, Vernon County Dairy Promotion Inc., Westby Cooperative Creamery, Westby CO-OP Credit Union, Zoetis and Dr. Ann Marie Elwing.
This year’s all-volunteer committee was comprised of a variety of dairy enthusiasts who wanted to provide a high quality learning experience for participants while showcasing Wisconsin’s professional dairy industry. Dairy farmers, local industry professionals, former co-workers and fair board members assisted in various roles to host the event. Plans are already underway to host the 28th annual Vernon County Dairy Cattle Judging Contest.