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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Michigan 4-H dairy judging team takes top honors at World Dairy Expo

EAST LANSING, Mich. ‒ The Michigan 4-H dairy judging team won top honors at the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo Sept. 29 in Madison, Wisconsin. The team finished as the No. 1 team overall, ahead of 26 teams from across the country, as well as the top team in reasons. Several members also ranked in the top 10 individually.

Team members Bryce Frahm of Frankenmuth, Kayla Holsten of Saline, Suzanna Hull of North Adams and Lucas Moser of Dansville evaluated 10 classes of dairy cattle at the national competition before delivering reasons on five of these classes. Youth competed for a place on the national team through a rigorous statewide selection process. Team members first had to place in the top 25 at the Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days judging competition in July. After that, they were required to attend at least four additional judging practices at dairy farms across the state to qualify for an intensive judging workout weekend at the Maryland State Fair. On the basis of participation in these events and their performance during the Maryland workout, Frahm, Holsten, Hull and Moser were selected from the initial 25 as top individuals for the team. An additional eight youth were selected to participate on two other dairy judging teams that will compete at national contests held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky.

“These 4-H’ers have worked very hard, not only this summer but for many years. Most of these youth have been judging for at least five years,” commented team coach Joe Domecq, who, along with co-coach and 4-H volunteer Sarah Black, has been coaching 4-H teams in preparation for the contest since 1998. “This success is the culmination of a lot of hours, dedication and hard work from our youth, coaches, volunteers and parents. It takes an army of people passionate about youth development to make this happen, and none of it would be possible without the support of 4-H volunteers who coach youth in their home counties, the Michigan dairy industry and dairy farms that open their doors for the teams to practice.”

In addition to bringing home the distinguished Top Overall Team and Top Team Reasons awards, the team also finished first in the Brown Swiss category and second in the Jersey breed. Several team members also received high individual rankings, with Moser ranking second in the top 10 individual competition, Holsten ranking sixth and Frahm ranking 10th. These three also scored in the top 10 for individual reasons, with Holsten coming in second, Moser third and Frahm fifth.

As a result of their success, the team has been invited to compete at the 2015 International Livestock and Dairy Judging Contest in Scotland. The 2014 team is the second Michigan 4-H team in the past three years to be invited to this international contest.

Michigan 4-H is a program of Michigan State University Extension and the largest youth development program in the state. To learn more about 4-H dairy judging, participation in the 4-H dairy project areas or Michigan 4-H in general, visit http://4h.msue.msu.edu/