Dairy Challenge team returns from South Dakota with top honors

Virginia Tech's Dairy Challenge Team

Virginia Tech's Dairy Challenge Team

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 23, 2007 – Virginia Tech’s Dairy Challenge Team won platinum first place honors at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge contest on March 30-31 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge challenges students to recall basic dairy management principles as well as their applications and to use their organizational, time management, data analysis, public speaking, leadership, and teamwork skills. This was the sixth consecutive year that Virginia Tech has placed either first or second.

The winning team members included:

The coaches are Ron Pearson and Mike McGilliard, professors of dairy science, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Twenty-nine teams from U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities put their education and practical knowledge to the test by analyzing a dairy business. Team members evaluated all aspects of a commercial dairy based on computerized records of cow and financial performance, observation of the dairy operation, and a question and answer session with the manager. They identified strengths and weaknesses of the operation and developed recommendations for improvement. Each team presented its management recommendations to a panel of five industry experts.

Teams were divided randomly into four groups, with each group assigned to evaluate a different farm. First place winners for the other groups were Iowa State University, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More than 140 corporations that service the dairy industry sponsored the dairy challenge with monetary and in-kind contributions of more than $250,000 in addition to a sizable contribution of personnel to help run the contest and judging.

About the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,200 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.