BROOKINGS, S.D. — The SDSU Dairy Club hosted close to 400 students from 11 universities for the Midwestern Regional Conference of the American Dairy Science Association Student Affiliate Division.
“All We Have We Owe to Udders” was the theme of the conference, held from February 3-5, 2017, on the SDSU campus and at the Days Inn in Brookings, S.D.
The American Dairy Science Association is a professional organization for individuals interested in Dairy Science. It is made up of nearly 5,000 members from around the world. The Student Affiliate Division caters specifically to students studying Dairy Science and preparing for careers in this field.
During the first day of the conference, attendees competed in a quiz bowl competition and gained insights from a panel comprised of young dairy professionals. The evening consisted of a meal, meeting, and entertainment featuring a singing comedian.
University professors and industry professionals led five breakout sessions the following day covering a wide range of topics, including cattle feeding, cheese making, new technologies, dairy industry management and labor issues. A Career Fair offered students an opportunity to network with industry professionals. Tours of the SDSU Davis Dairy Plant, Animal Science Arena, and Golden Dakota Farms in Elkton, S.D., were offered. The conference concluded with a formal banquet, elections, and a keynote address by motivational speaker Mark Lindquist. A dance was held after the banquet.
SDSU students Cole Hoyer of West Salem, Wis., and Audrey Souza of Milbank, S.D. were co-chairs for the conference. They oversaw several subcommittees comprised of the 80 members of the SDSU Dairy Club.
Hoyer and Souza reflected it was at last year’s conference, held in Fort Wayne, Ind., where the SDSU Dairy Club submitted a bid to host the 2017 conference. The proposal was successful, as SDSU won the popular vote from participating universities.
“We actually called hotels on the bus ride home, so I guess you could say we have been planning for a full year,” Souza says.
This is the fourth time that SDSU has hosted the conference. Previous conferences were held in Brookings in 1996, 2005, and 2010.
“This year’s breakout sessions were diverse, the speakers were excellent, and topics covered included the entire spectrum of dairying from farm to product,” says Vikram Mistry, Head of the SDSU Dairy and Food Science Department.
The Dairy Club raised nearly $50,000 to cover the expenses related to hosting the event.
“The industry supported the conference through contributions, providing tours, and people that attended,” Mistry says.
He believes the conference is an important activity for the SDSU Dairy Club to host because it is organized entirely by the students. “Planning and hosting an event of this magnitude is no easy task, and our students conducted this with absolute professionalism and skill,” Mistry says. “Our students will be leaders in the dairy industry in the coming years.”
Souza notes that hosting the event allowed the chance to show off SDSU and the Dairy and Food Science Department. “We have great opportunities here in both undergraduate and graduate programs, so it gave us an opportunity to show that to other students from around the country,” Souza says.
Students interested in the dairy program had the opportunity to talk to professors and students at the career fair about the educational programs offered.
“Also, organizing this conference allowed us to come closer together as a club and get to know each other on a more personal level, which has benefited our club,” Souza says.
About the South Dakota State University Dairy and Food Science Department
With expertise in Dairy Production, Dairy Manufacturing, and Food Science, the South Dakota State University Dairy and Food Science Department covers the entire spectrum of the dairy industry; from farm to product. The department is housed in the newly renovated Alfred Dairy Science Hall, attached to which is the new state of the art Davis Dairy Plant. The South Dakota State University dairy farm provides the source of milk for well-known SDSU ice cream and cheese products, and is home to some 150 milking Holsteins and Brown Swiss cattle. The Department boasts 100% job placement for graduates, offers more than $100,000 in scholarships to students and confers Bachelors, Master’s and Doctorate degrees.
Learn more at http://www.sdstate.edu/ds/.
— SDSU Extension
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