April 22, 2016

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo

Cal Poly Team Excels at North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Dairy Challenge Team earned first place at the 15th annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, held April 7-9 in Liverpool, N.Y. This marks the team’s fourth consecutive win.

The students assessed all aspects of a working New York dairy farm and developed a farm analysis that included a list of recommendations related to facilities, nutrition, financials, reproduction and animal health. They ranked first among eight competing teams that evaluated the same dairy.

The Cal Poly team members were John Schoneveld (Bakersfield, Calif.), Christine Sousa (Lemoore, Calif.), Toni Silva (Los Banos, Calif.), and Justine DeVries (Stevensville, Texas). Dairy science Professor Stan Henderson coached the team and accompanied the students to the competition. Professor Julie Huzzey was the assistant coach. In addition, Cal Poly students Mark Weststeyn (Willows, Calif.) and Randy Edwards (Hilmar, Calif.) attended the Dairy Challenge Academy while at the event.

“Cal Poly is the only university to take first-place honors for four consecutive years at the national level,” Henderson said.

In all, 247 students from 39 colleges across the U.S. and Canada attended the event. The students are training for careers in the dairy industry as farmers, researchers, educators, financial analysts, nutritionists, farm service providers and veterinarians.

In February, 23 Cal Poly dairy science students took top honors at the annual Western Regional Dairy Challenge in Tulare, Calif., allowing them to move on to the national competition.

As part of their training, collegiate participants visited six dairy farms in New York to help farmers evaluate and adapt management practices to optimize success and animal care.

About the North American Dairy Challenge
The North American Dairy Challenge is an innovative two-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. It enables students to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy while working as part of a four-person team. For more information, visit or
About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories including ranchland, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology.

Photo information: Dairy Science Team — l to r, Cal Poly dairy science Professor Stan Henderson, coach; John Schoneveld; Christine Sousa; Toni Silva; Justine DeVries; and Professor Julie Huzzey. 

# # #