The Oregon State University dairy judging team on Sept. 30 placed third in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, tying its highest ever finish.
“We were just stoked,” said Hayden Bush of Tillamook, Ore. “We were the only team to have all four individuals earn All-American honors.”
Individuals earn All-American honors by placing in the top 25 in the overall category. The national competition is held annually at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.
Virginia Tech won the competition. The University of Minnesota took second.
OSU’s third-place finish comes on the heels of a second-place finish at the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held Sept. 15 in Viroqua, Wis.
The Viroqua, Wis., competition, sponsored by Accelerated Genetics, serves as one of two regional events for the national competition. Accelerated Genetics is a bovine genetics and research company based in Baraboo, Wis.
OSU’s dairy judging team has competed in the national competition off and on since 1991, when Jim Krahn, the team’s coach, revitalized the university’s dairy judging team. Krahn said one other time OSU’s dairy judging team took third.
“These kids deserve this,” Krahn said. “Most of them started (judging dairy cattle) while they were in junior high school, and they have worked extremely hard while at OSU.”
In addition to gaining recognition for their work, Krahn said the events are great experiences for students.
“It is a great experience from a communication perspective and making contacts for jobs,” Krahn said.
“We got a lot of compliments about how well the students handled themselves,” Krahn said.
Dairy-cattle judging involves ranking four cows in 10 to 12 classes and orally explaining the ranking.
“It was amazing just to compete,” said Kristen Kaste, also from Tillamook. “To do well, that made it even better.”
Other members of the team include Matthew Jansen from Forest Grove, Ore., and Andrea Smaciarz of Raymond, Wash.
Travel costs for the team are funded by the Dairy Students Activities Fund. The fund is an endowment through the OSU Foundation that students started earlier this year.
The endowment fund, which accepts donations, also supports student participation in an annual dairy challenge event and an event sponsored by the American Dairy Science Association.