Every direction you looked at World Dairy Expo on Tuesday, October 4, was filled with attire displaying the FFA emblem and the young, bright members who proudly wore it. It doesn’t matter if members have a dairy background or not; there is something for all to see and participate in at World Dairy Expo. That morning featured the showmanship, forage, dairy products, and dairy cattle evaluation contests for FFA members.
Over 300 FFA members from more than 100 chapters participated in the dairy judging contest, with three people per judging team. All teams evaluated four classes and answered a set of questions about one class. Chairperson of the contest, Mark Zidon, was thrilled to see the phenomenal turnout for the event.
“Not only did we have beautiful weather that day, but we had amazing contests as well,” Zidon described. “Students came not only from Wisconsin and Minnesota, but from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and even some from California and Missouri as well.”
Wisconsin’s Auburndale FFA chapter won this contest with an 11-point lead over the team from Marshfield, Wis. This winning team was made up of Abigail Becker, Brenna Thiel, and Brett Thiel. The team from Marshfield FFA included Dylan Bangart, Sara Dorshorst, and Pierce Weigel. Two points behind in third place was the FFA chapter from Juda, Wis., with team members Katie Brooks, Gracyn Bolton, and Grace Gold.
In the showmanship competition, Tessa Schmoker of the Lakeside Lutheran FFA Chapter took first place. Boyceville FFA’s Abby Schlaugh was second, and Sophia Kamm of the Baldwin-Woodville FFA Chapter earned third place.
Not only is this contest a great chance for judging teams to practice their skills with the greatest dairy cattle in the world, but it’s a way for youth to learn more about agriculture and further their connections in the dairy industry.
“There are plenty of FFA members who don’t have the opportunity to connect directly with the dairy industry, especially when so few are from farms,” Zidon noted. “This is the perfect chance for youth to see top-notch animals and learn about a wide variety of topics in the industry.”
Hoard's at Expo is sponsored by Trioliet.
Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper served as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.