MSU Dairy Youth

Isabella County 4-H member is state’s top novice dairy cattle judge

Published: 2015-08-26

A team of novice 4-H dairy cattle project members representing Isabella, Kent and Newaygo counties earned top ranking among seven teams in the novice division of the state’s dairy cattle judging contest at this year’s Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, an annual dairy youth activity held in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo. This year’s expo, the 18th annual, took place July 20-24 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing.


Two of the team’s members – twin sisters Emily and Abigail Wilson, of Blanchard – placed first and third, respectively. 

The other team members were Lydia Deters, of Fremont, and James Link, of Alto.


Youth are eligible to compete in one of three age divisions in the dairy cattle judging contest: novice, junior or senior. Participants in the novice category – for young people ages 9 to 11 and competing in their first or second year at Dairy Days – evaluated the conformation of four classes of dairy animals (four animals in each class) and completed a quiz.


Evaluation scores were tallied according to how closely the contestant’s placing matched the judges’ official placing. Contestants can earn a total of 50 points for each class.


The top 10 individuals overall in the novice division of the dairy cattle judging contest, in chronological order, were:

1. Emily Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)
2. Brandon Dreyer, Ottawa County (Zeeland)
3. Abigail Wilson, Isabella County (Blanchard)
4. Paul Meyer, Clinton County (Ionia)
5. Mallorie Brenneman, Branch County (Jonesville)
6. Olivia Black, Clinton County (Eagle)
7. Kelsey Atherton, Shiawassee County (Swartz Creek)
8. Jolene Nash, Clinton County (Elsie)
9. Jared Bunn, Washtenaw County (Manchester)
10. Riley Krause, Ingham County (Lansing)


Clinton County Team A placed second overall. Team members were: Olivia Black, of Eagle; Brianna Halfman, of St. Johns; Paul Meyer, of Ionia; and Jolene Nash, Elsie. The joint team representing Ingham and Shiawassee counties finished third: Kelsey Atherton, of Swartz Creek; Riley Krause, of Lansing; Mathias Nielsen, of Potterville; and Amber Szakal, of Corunna. The three-man team of Braxton and Hunter Meekhof, of Hudsonville, and Brandon Dreyer, of Zeeland, placed fourth for Ottawa County. The fifth place team was from Branch County. Team members were: Mallorie Brenneman, of Jonesville; Macy Pish, of Quincy; Jackson Preston, of Quincy; and Madison Wineland, of Coldwater.


As the youth-centered portion of the Michigan Dairy Expo, the largest annual dairy event in the state, Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various educational activities, including dairy quiz bowls, dairy management contests, dairy cattle judging competitions and the Dairy Days youth show. This year, nearly 150 youth from around the state participated in one or more of the educational competitions, and winners may go on to represent Michigan in national competitions.


Awards and other recognition during Michigan 4-H Youth Dairy Days, along with other dairy youth and judging program activities conducted throughout the year, are made possible through the generous support of numerous businesses, organizations and individuals. These include: ABS Global, AIS Equipment, the Branch County Dairy Organization, the CHS Foundation, the Clinton County 4-H Dairy Council, Dairy Farmers of America, the District 1 and District VI Holstein associations, Drs. Joe and Denise Domecq, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hillsdale County Dairy Leaders, Ira Krupp, Lely, the Michigan Dairy Memorial Foundation, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Holstein Association, the Michigan Jersey Cattle Club, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, the MSU Dairy Club, the MSU Dairy Cattle Judging Team, the MSU Department of Animal Science, MOO-ville Creamery, NorthStar Cooperative, the Osceola County 4-H Dairy Boosters, the Ottawa County 4-H Dairy Committee, Rodney Pennock, Purina Animal Nutrition, the Shiawassee County 4-H Dairy Association, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and the Vitality Dairy crew.


For more information about the Michigan 4-H dairy youth program, contact Elischer at 517-432-4306. For more information about the Michigan Dairy Expo, contact Dr. Joe Domecq at 517-353-7855.


The 2016 Michigan Dairy Expo is scheduled for July 18-22 at MSU.