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SUNY Cobleskill Students Score Silver at the 2024 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

(Pictured left to right: Kyler Meisner, Patrick Bosley, Kimberly M. Tarvis (coach), Rachel Ewing, Aydan Low)

COBLESKILL, N.Y. — Four senior Animal Science students took second place at the 2024 North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, competing against some of the largest dairy programs in the nation at the April 4 – 6 event in Visalia, California. First and second place were decided by just a fraction of a point, with SUNY Cobleskill scoring an overall total of 81.0 to the first-place team’s score of 81.2.

The Challenge is a three-day event that brings together students from around the world to gain real-life, hands-on experience and learn from industry experts. It asks teams of four from each participating school to visit and study a working farm, collecting information such as financial reports, herd software data, and herd summary reports during a two-hour site evaluation, and then deliver a presentation on how they would improve the farm’s operations. Presentations are delivered in front of a five-judge panel and the farm owners.

Making up SUNY Cobleskill’s national team this year were seniors Patrick Bosley (Animal Science BT-Dairy, and Agricultural Business AAS), Rachel Ewing (Animal Science BS), Aydan Low (Animal Science BT-Dairy), and Kyler Meisner (Animal Science BT-Dairy, and Agricultural Business AAS).

Kimberly M. Tarvis, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science coached the team. “We are one of the smallest schools in the National Dairy Challenge, and this team meshed together beautifully,” she said. “This is not an individual event where the scores are based on individual performances; you succeed only as a team. That teamwork was on full display here, but it was also a product of their preparation. They took the responsibility of lining up speakers to meet with as a team and grow their collective knowledge base. I just acted as their guide, and their national success is a direct result of their ambition to learn alongside one another.”

Students had the chance to try out for the team, with three participating in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge in October 2023. The team practiced throughout the Spring semester, which included practices at local farms over spring break to hone their skills in examining the businesses top to bottom. Farms included VisionQuest Dairy in Lansing, N.Y., El-Vi Farms in Newark, N.Y., and Fa-Ba Farms in Canandaigua, N.Y.

Four additional students, Holly Niefergold (Agricultural Business BT), Timothy Blesy (Animal Science BT-Dairy), Tesika Kilmer (Agricultural Business BT), and Annika Donlick (Animal Science BS), participated in Dairy Challenge Academy. Each student was placed on aggregate teams from across the United States and Canada to learn how to evaluate a dairy farm and create a presentation on their findings of how to improve the dairy and why.

The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge includes competitions held in four regions across the United States in addition to the national competition and academy. 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.



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