Washington Youth Make a Splash at Expo

For over 50 years World Dairy Expo has been the esteemed dairy event of the year. Held from October 3-7, in Madison, Wisconsin over 70,000 dairy farmers, organization leaders, and dairy enthusiasts gathered to learn about the newest innovations in the industry and watch top dairy cattle from across the continent compete in the distinguished breed shows.

Hundreds of youth have been participating in the National 4-H Dairy Conference and the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest since 1919. This year four passionate students from Washington State made a big splash in the national placings and brought yet another top ten placing back to our great state.

The Washington State Judging Team: Alicia Smaciarz, Zach Schilter, Daesha Ali, and Karsen Morris, placed ninth in the 2017 National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest and second in the nation in the Guernsey class. The team was coached by Lana Smaciarz, Dairy Farmers of Washington Board member, and Lonny Schilter.

Over several days, the teams visited numerous dairy farms in Wisconsin, most distinguished being Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. During the farm visits, contestants had the opportunity to practice judging and prepare for the contest. They toured the National Dairy Shrine Museum, Nasco’s facility, and warehouse, and spent time at Expo walking the never-ending aisles of prized cows and heifers.

“Getting to walk around Expo was pretty exciting,” said Alicia Smaciarz. “It was a neat experience to see such high-quality animals all in one place.”

The judging contest was a full day of tough classes and giving oral reasons.   

“Our team is very consistent, we’ve been practicing all year. Each person brought something different to the team,” Smaciarz said. “Daesha was well rounded in both placings and oral reasons, Zach and Karsen were strong in placings, and I was strong in reasons, so together we made a really solid team.”

At the 96th Annual Awards Banquet, the results were announced by each breed and then by placings, followed by oral reasons specifically.

“And that is when Karsen got first in individual placings,” Smaciarz said. “It got down to first place and they said Washington. We were all so excited. She couldn’t even believe it!”

Also traveling to Madison were five National 4-H Dairy Conference delegates from Washington State. This year’s Washington delegates were Anna Teachman, Caleb Bareman, Mina Rottler, Luke Wolfisberg and Rafe Wolfisberg. Teachman, who is also the Washington State Dairy Ambassador, had the honor of speaking at the opening dinner of the National Dairy Conference.

“I was privileged to go to Conference last year as a delegate and be able to come back this year as a member of the Planning Committee.  Welcoming this year’s nearly 200 delegates to the Conference was an unforgettable part of my time there,” said Teachman.

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to see Expo and learn about all of the new technologies and ideas different companies have for the future dairy. I loved getting to talk with people and hear why they were inspired to improve some area of dairy farming.”

A week dedicated to everything dairy is sure to make a lot of wonderful memories. The conference proved to once again be a place for youth to be inspired through seminars, tours, and networking.

“Dairy Conference holds a special place in my heart; there are so many opportunities,” Teachman said. “It’s a very educational experience.”