2010-04-11 / Celebrations & Milestones

Filion's Rice on MSU Dairy Challenge team

Rosemary Rice, Filion, is a member of the Michigan State University team that competed in the ninth annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge April 8–10 in Visalia, Calif.

The MSU team is one of 30 representing universities from across the United States and Canada. This year’s event was hosted by California Polytechnic State University and California State University, Fresno, making it the first competition on the West Coast.

Joining Rice were animal science seniors Gail Carpenter, Dansville; Jacquelyn Rowley, Richmond; and Benjamin Wenner, Lewis Center, Ohio.

The team is coached by Drs. Miriam Weber-Nielsen, MSU associate professor of animal science, and Elizabeth Karcher, MSU animal science specialist.

The NAIDC is an innovative, two-day competition that challenges team members to apply principles learned in the classroom and practical experience to analyze a dairy farm’s management program.

Students conduct a walk-through of a working dairy farm, at which time they can ask the farm owner questions and review farm records. Next, team members review their findings and assemble management recommendations to present to the herd owners and a panel of judges representing various sectors of the dairy industry.

In addition to recalling and applying textbook principles and theories, students are tested on organizational, time management, data analysis, public speaking, leadership and teamwork skills.

Coach Weber-Nielsen says the competition requires students to use skills and knowledge they will use daily in their future careers. “What students learn in the classroom is only part of the learning process,” she said.

“Actually taking that knowledge and applying it to evaluate practices on the farm takes the learning process full circle.”

Weber-Nielsen added that another valuable component of the contest environment is the opportunity for students to network with other students and potential employers.

“Students get the chance to interact one-on-one with representatives from the sponsoring companies and the dairy business owners who, in turn, get to meet a number of the best and brightest young people who’ll soon be graduating into the workforce,” she said.

For information about the MSU Dairy Challenge team, contact Weber-Nielsen at msw@msu.edu or (517) 432-5443.

*About the NAIDC:

The NAIDC consists of four regional intercollegiate dairy management competitions and a national contest. Designed by dairy industry representatives and university faculty members and specialists,the first NAIDC took place in 2002. The program is supported through industry donations and coordinated by a volunteer board of directors. For more information about the NAIDC, see www.dairychallenge.org.

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