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Dunn County dairy judging team going to Scotland for international competition

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  First they won the state competition in Marshfield.

Then they won the national competition in Madison.

And now Dunn County’s dairy judging team is headed for Scotland to participate in the international dairy judging competition in June of 2016.

The dairy judging team, which includes Brooke Brantner (Little Elk Creek 4-H), Krista Styer (Willing Workers 4-H), Luke Powers (Little Elk Creek 4-H) and Ben Powers (Little Elk Creek 4-H), won first place in the 94th dairy judging contest, now called the Lely National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, in Madison at World Dairy Expo in September.

Brantner, Styer and Luke Powers appeared before the Dunn County Board at the November 10 meeting to talk about their experiences with dairy judging.

Ben Powers was unable to attend the meeting because he was in school at UW-Madison for the Short Course in dairy farm management.

At the national contest at World Dairy Expo, the Dunn County team competed against 26 teams from around the United States and two teams from Canada to judge five heifer classes and five cow classes.

Four dairy cows or heifers were included in each class.

Part of the competition involved writing notes about each of the cows in each class and how and why they were placed as they were, memorizing those notes, and then being able to recite the reasons for placing a particular cow when called upon later in the day, explained Luke Powers.

Ben Powers took first place in “oral reasons,” and Luke Powers earned second place in oral reasons, Luke Powers reported to the Dunn County Board.

Brooke Brantner earned eighth place overall in oral reasons, and Krista Styer took 25th place, he said.

Prior to going to the state competition in Marshfield, the Dunn County team took second place in the regional competition. The top three teams in the region competed at the state competition, Luke Powers said.

The Dunn County dairy judging team will head for the international dairy judging contest at the Royal Highlands Show in Scotland June 22, 2016, and will return July 5.

Jim Powers and Scott Nelson are the coaches for the Dunn County team.

According to the Dairy Herd Management website, the Dunn County team’s win at the national competition was the tenth time that a Wisconsin team has won the nationals and the first time a Wisconsin team has won since 2005.

In the national competition, Wisconsin placed first, Pennsylvania placed second, California placed third, New York placed fourth, Michigan placed fifth, Florida placed sixth, Illinois placed seventh, Minnesota placed eighth, Maryland placed ninth, and Virginia placed tenth.

In the top ten individuals overall, Ben Powers earned 718 points, and Luke Powers earned 715 points.

In the top ten individual for “reasons,” Ben Powers earned 244 points, Luke Powers earned 240 points, and Brooke Brantner earned 226 points.

The members of the Dunn County dairy judging team noted that Wisconsin is unique in that the teams from each county compete throughout the levels as a team all the way to the national competition. Other states select the top four individuals in the state to compete at the national level.

World Dairy Expo has an attendance of about 70,000 people from 90 countries.

The Dunn County Board unanimously approved a resolution recognizing the members of the Dunn County dairy judging team and their coaches.

Carl Casper, a member of the board of directors for the Dunn County Farm Bureau, asked if it would be possible for Dunn County to provide financial support for the dairy judging team’s trip to Scotland.

Steve Rasmussen, chair of the Dunn County Board, referred Casper’s request to the county board’s community resources and tourism committee.