Texas A&M University Students participate in Western Regional Dairy Challenge

FRESNO — Four students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences represented Texas A&M University in the Western Regional Dairy Challenge held March 3-5, 2011 in Fresno, Calif. and one of the students earned a top award.

Caroline Gardiner, a junior animal science major from Owings, Md.; Kristin Catron, a senior animal science major from Fort Worth; Nicole Hoff, a junior animal science major from Windthorst; and Blake Wolf, a freshman ag business major from Scotland, were among the 55 students from five western universities and one Canadian university to compete in the challenge. In addition to Texas A&M, other participating universities were the University of Alberta (Canada), University of Idaho, Washington State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the California State University of Fresno.

Hosted by Fresno State University, the Western Regional Dairy Challenge is an innovative management analysis competition developed by industry and university professionals from across the U.S.

A key objective of the dairy challenge is to present students with real-life situations that stress the importance of teamwork and professionalism.

Students from the different universities were partnered in teams of four or five. Each group conducts a comprehensive evaluation of a working dairy farm. The evaluation includes everything from cow comfort and herd health to reproduction and finances. The teams are looking for opportunities to improve operational efficiency of the dairy farm being evaluated and ideas to improve that particular dairy’s bottom-line.

Texas A&M’s Nicole Hoff was a member of the team winning the gold award. Her four team members were from California State University Fresno, University of Alberta and University of Idaho. A platinum award was also presented to one of the teams.

These four A&M students all have a background in the dairy field or are interested in pursuing some aspect of the dairy business after graduation. Catron and Hoff both completed the Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium Teaching program last summer and are returning in May along with Wolf to this year’s teaching program.

Animal Science faculty Dr. Michael Tomaszewksi, professor emeritus in dairy science, and Dr. Glenn Holub, instructional assistant professor, serve as the team’s advisors.


For more information regarding news from the Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science, please contact Courtney Coufal at cacoufal@tamu.edu or (979) 845-1542.

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