When the dairy industry meets in Madison, Wis., this week during World Dairy Expo, those gathered will include numerous young people. They are there to exhibit their animals, help with showstrings, compete to show off their skills, make connections, explore the future of the industry, and do much more.
One special group of dairy youth is traveling around the region during the week to visit dairy sites, participate in hands-on lessons, and hear from industry leaders. For high school students passionate about dairy, attending the National 4-H Dairy Conference provides an unmatched opportunity to visit World Dairy Expo and learn more about the industry alongside peers with the same interests.
This year marks the 67th event, and more than 125 students from around the U.S. and Canada have been enjoying America’s Dairyland since Sunday. These youth are selected by their state organizations based on excellence in their dairy projects, and for many, attending this conference a highlight of their 4-H dairy experience.
For many years, Hoard’s Dairyman has enjoyed helping the group kick off their conference with tours of our publishing office and farm. The students also get to visit some of the other dairy landmarks right here in Fort Atkinson: the National Dairy Shrine Museum and Jones Dairy Farm, a local food processor with a rich history in the area’s dairy heritage.
It was a pleasure to once again host these youth yesterday. They enjoyed a lunch generously catered by Jones Market before setting out for tours around town.
At the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, students saw the longest continually registered herd of Guernseys in the country as well as the barn constructed in 2019 that allows our cows to be milked with automatic milking systems, or robots. We also use automatic calf feeders. Along with some of the historic buildings still standing since the farm’s purchase by W.D. Hoard in 1899, the farm is a neat picture of dairy’s evolution through the years!
While touring our office, the youth heard about the many aspects that go into making a magazine, from writing and editing articles to designing pages and working with advertisers. They even put what they learned to the test by designing some unique pages of their own with group members.
After a long afternoon of learning, the students headed back to Madison for more camaraderie. Today, they will hear from educational speakers and visit a local dairy farm, and tomorrow, they will get to take in all Expo has to offer. We hope these youth will enjoy the rest of their week in Wisconsin immersed in all things dairy!
Katelyn Allen joined the Hoard’s Dairyman team as the Publications Editor in August 2019 and is now an associate editor. Katelyn is a 2019 graduate of Virginia Tech, where she majored in dairy science and minored in communication. Katelyn grew up on her family’s registered Holstein dairy, Glen-Toctin Farm, in Jefferson, Md.