Students Apply Real-World Training at Midwest Dairy Challenge



LTC Dairy Herd Management students participate in the Midwest Dairy Challenge in Appleton. Left to right: Kristin Leiteritz, LTC Dairy Herd Instructor Sheryl Nehls, Shawn Banowetz, Ryan Navis, Jesse Bolton, and Nicole Strutz.


Five LTC Dairy Herd Management program students participated in the 10th annual Midwest Dairy Challenge held in Appleton. This educational event featured 57 student participants from 13 collegiate dairy programs in eight Midwestern states. One LTC student earned an award as a member of the first place team.

Dairy Challenge is an innovative dairy analysis competition developed by industry and university professionals, which exposes students to opportunities in a vibrant dairy industry. Working in four- or five-person, mixed-university teams, students at the Midwest Dairy Challenge assessed all aspects of a working dairy farm and presented recommendations for improvement to a panel of judges and participating farm families.

LTC Dairy Herd Students Kristin Leiteritz, Cleveland, Shawn Banowetz, Charlotte, Iowa, Ryan Navis, Cleveland, Jesse Bolton, Port Washington, and Nicole Strutz, Two Rivers, joined LTC Instructor Sheryl Nehls for the three day event. The Dairy Challenge began with educational seminars by Wisconsin dairy professionals about farm finance, nutrition and reproduction. Next, students were assigned to a team, with each team receiving production, financial and farm management data from a working dairy.

Student teams inspected the dairy and interviewed farm owners. Each team developed a farm analysis with recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management. The ultimate goal of providing recommendations is to help improve farm performance and operation profitability.

On the final day, team members presented recommendations and then fielded questions from a panel of judges. These official judges included dairy producers and industry experts in dairy finances, reproduction, nutrition and animal health. Presentations were evaluated for accuracy of analysis and recommendations, with awards presented at a final banquet.

Sugar Creek Dairy LLC of New London and Country Aire Dairy of Greenleaf were the host farms for this year’s Midwest Dairy Challenge.

Kristin Leiteritz of Cleveland was on the winning team. “My teammates were seniors from Purdue, Kansas State, Ohio State and a junior from UW-Madison. It was a great experience for me and I discovered our LTC Dairy Herd Management program had me just as prepared as my teammates. We have a great program at LTC,” said Leiteritz.

North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge was established as a management contest to incorporate all phases of a dairy business. Its mission is to facilitate education, communication and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities that enhances the development of the dairy industry and its leaders. In its 13-year history, Dairy Challenge has helped train over 4000 students through one national and four regional contests conducted annually. NAIDC is supported through generous donations by 130 agribusinesses and dairy producers, and programs are coordinated by a volunteer board of directors.

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About Lakeshore Technical College

Each year more than 10,000 people enroll in courses at Lakeshore Technical College. They rely on LTC for job preparation, to earn a degree, upgrade a specialized skill, train as an apprentice, or seek a high school equivalency. LTC faculty and staff meet students where they are in life and help them get one step closer to achieving their goals.

LTC is a nationally recognized technical college. The college was ranked the #2 two-year college in the nation for adult learners by Washington Monthly, the #17 trade school in the nation by Forbes, #11 in the nation for two-year college educational outcomes by, a top-150 two-year college for the fifth consecutive time by the Aspen Institute, and a top 10 Bellwether Award finalist.

Approximately 800 students graduate from LTC each year, and LTC’s associate degree graduates earn a median salary of $47,800* per year. In addition to the Cleveland campus, LTC serves students in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, and offers classes at additional sites throughout the district. Visit LTC at

*Source: 2019 LTC Graduate Outcomes report, 795 graduates contacted to complete the survey; 508 graduates or 64% completed the survey.

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