Michigan 4-H performed well at 2023 national 4-H dairy contests

Michigan 4-H members competed at five contests during three events around the country.

Four individuals holding up ribbons.
Michigan 4-H Dairy Management team. Left to right: L. Thelen, C. Steiner, L. Deters and A. Wilson. Photo taken by Cathy Fry.

When you are on a state 4-H winning dairy management, quiz bowl or judging team, the fall tends to be a busy time of year. The season kicks in high-gear right away, starting with an intensive practice at the Maryland State Fair, then off and running to national contests.

This year Michigan 4-H was well represented nationally in the dairy management, dairy quiz bowl and dairy judging contests. The All-American Dairy Show, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, plays host to the National Junior Dairy Management Contest as well as a youth dairy judging Contest. World Dairy Expo, in Madison, Wisconsin, is a five-day event showcasing dairy cattle, the newest technologies and a youth dairy cattle judging contest. The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) has been considered the “world’s largest all breed, purebred livestock exposition” for many years. During NAILE, the 4-H Invitational Dairy Cattle Judging Contest is held, along with the North American 4-H Invitational Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest.

Dairy Management

The Junior Dairy Management Contest is similar to an animal science skill-a-thon.  Youth must demonstrate dairy science skills such as feed identification, linear scoring of cattle, farm finance, milk quality, biosecurity and environmental stewardship. Michigan 4-H was the high-placing team at the National Junior Dairy Management Contest in September 2023.  Coach Cathy Fry from Isabella County traveled with Lydia Deters of Newaygo County, Landon Thelen of Clinton County, Chloe Steiner of Mecosta County and Abbie Wilson of Isabella County.  Chloe Steiner was the overall high-placing individual, winning a $1,000 scholarship.  Thelen placed second, Deters eighth, and Wilson 12th. 

Team members sitting infront of a sign.
Michigan 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Team. Front, left to right: J. Hicks, C. Steiner, C. Tucker, L. Welch. Back, left to right: L. VanDenBerg, Coach Rod Pennock, Coach Kerry Tucker and Coach Bev Berens. Photo courtesy of North American International Livestock Exposition.

Dairy Quiz Bowl

Michigan built a combination team for the quiz bowl competition this year. The team was made up of individuals who placed in the Top 10 at the Michigan 4-H Dairy Days Quiz Bowl Contest. Having knowledge in one area of the industry is skill, knowing a vast array of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry is GREAT skill. The team faced deep competition, winning two rounds but unfortunately falling just out of the placings.

Team members with their awards.
The All-American Dairy Show 2023 Michigan 4-H team members included (left to right): C. Steiner, L. Thelen, O. Black, L. Deters. The team was coached by Dr. Joe Domecq, Sarah Black, Dr. Kirby Krogstad and Sarah Michalek.

Dairy Judging

The 4-H Dairy Judging Teams had a busy fall judging cattle at all three shows with great results!

The All-American Dairy Show had excellent classes to judge. The 4-H team, comprised of youth from Mecosta, Clinton and Newaygo counties, did exceptionally well, bringing home the first place overall team award. Member Olivia Black was also the first place overall individual at the contest.

Team members in front of the backdrop.
The World Dairy Expo 2023 Michigan 4-H team members included (left to right): Coach Sarah Black, L. Deters, O. Black, C. Steiner, L. Thelen and Coach Dr. Joe Domecq. The team was coached by Dr. Joe Domecq, Sarah Black, Dr. Kirby Krogstad and Sarah Michalek.

Traveling to World Dairy Expo can seem daunting, but the 4-H team from Michigan did not back down and competed very well! The team was eighth overall in the contest, with multiple individuals placing in the top 10 for various breeds and reasons.

Team members in front of the green shavings at NAILE.
The North American International Livestock Exposition 2023 Michigan 4-H team members included (left to right): C. Harris, W. Evans, M. Wilson. The team was coached by Dr. Joe Domecq, Sarah Black, Sarah Michalek and Dr. Kirby Krogstad.

The beginning of November had Michigan 4-H Dairy Judging headed south to Louisville, Kentucky, to NAILE for a judging contest with some steep competition. The individuals from Clinton and Isabella counties placed well individually, all placing in the top 10 in the contest. The team also placed in the top 10 overall finishing in third place.

Complete 2023 judging results for the 4-H, MSU collegiate, and MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology teams can be found online.

Thank you to all the farms that hosted the 4-H and MSU teams as they prepared for this judging season, as well as sponsors and judging alumni who continue to support the growth of the teams.

If you are interested in joining 4-H or seeing what Michigan State University Extension can do for you, visit MSU Extension online.

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