Burlington--Ten outstanding Vermont 4-H dairy members were selected to attend the National Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 4-H'ers were among the 200 youths, ages 15 to 18, from throughout the country and Canada who gathered on the University of Wisconsin campus, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, to explore career choices and learn about the dairy industry. Throughout the event, held in conjunction with the annual World Dairy Exposition, they heard from industry experts and participated in a number of seminars and tours of dairy operations and agricultural businesses.

Representing University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H were Ellie Bissell, Richmond; Gabe Howe, Tunbridge; Rylee-Mae Mason, New Haven; Ryanne Nadeau, Derby; Julie Parent, St. Albans; Dana Seward and Calvin Seward, both from East Wallingford; Courteney Simpson, Sutton; Tyler Slack, Bethel; and Evelyn Trujillo, Pittsford. Chaperones were Cindy Kayhart, Vergennes, and Sean Somers, Lyndonville.

Selection for the conference was based on a number of criteria. To be considered, youths had to have demonstrated overall excellence in the 4-H dairy project through their project record books and participation in local and state UVM Extension 4-H dairy events. They also had to be enrolled in the 4-H dairy project for at least three years.

Delegates had a choice of several educational and interactive seminars featuring such topics as artificial insemination, dairy herd mating strategies, genomics, dairy products marketing, farm finances, careers in agriculture and production and niche marketing of goat and sheep milk products. In addition, they explored the science behind dairy foods and how to be advocates for the dairy industry.

The conference included tours of the National Dairy Shrine Museum, ABS Global, Nasco International, Hoard's Dairyman Magazine's registered Guernsey farm and Crave Brothers Farm and Farmstead Cheese. The latter hosted a tailgate party and career fair for the attendees. The youths also attended a barn dance and the World Dairy Expo, an international dairy industry trade show.

The State 4-H Foundation, the Vermont Dairy Industry Association and several businesses and private donors helped fund the trip. For information about the Vermont 4-H dairy program, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at wendy.sorrell@uvm.edu.


Wendy M. Sorrell