Fourteen SUNY Cobleskill students competed at the 2023 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge in Harrisburg, PA, from Oct. 12 through 14, with several bringing home top awards from the annual competition, including the prestigious Don Rogers Award for Exemplary Team Performance.
The collegiate challenge pits teams against one another in studying a working farm and then presenting a report on how the farm can improve its operations. Team rosters of four and five members are aggregated from a pool of more than 80 students representing colleges across the Northeast. The teams are tasked with collecting information from the farm, including financial reports, herd software data, herd summary reports, and a two-hour site evaluation, then delivering a presentation on how they would improve the farm operation. Presentations are delivered in front of a five-judge panel and the farm owners.
Two farms were evaluated as part of the challenge, and SUNY Cobleskill students were on the first and second-place teams evaluating each farm. Annika Donlick ’24 and Tim Blesy ’26 placed first with their teams, while Kyler Meisner ’25 and Lauren Russen ’24 placed second. Donlick’s team, whose success she played a pivotal role in, also received the Don Rogers Award for Exemplary Team Performance. This award is not given every year and is reserved for only the elite-performing teams. It was last given in 2019.
“These three days were a whirlwind of activity, but it was incredible to see the award-winning work that our students were able to generate, made even more impressive by working with people they’ve just met and on an extreme time crunch,” said Kimberly Tarvis, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Dairy Challenge Team Coach. “It is a privilege to work with such talented and motivated students, and their success in this competition reflects their passion for the future of the nation’s farming industry.”
SUNY Cobleskill will be hosting the 2024 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge. The flagship dairy program includes competitions held in four regions across the United States, in addition to the national competition. For nearly two decades, the Dairy Challenge has connected dairy science students and universities with producers and industry professionals to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy.
2023 Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge Student Participants (SUNY Cobleskill):