Michigan 4-H members have until June 24 to register for this year's 4-H Dairy Days. 4-H Dairy Days are scheduled for July 18–21 and held in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo, which runs July 18–23 at the Michigan State University Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education on the MSU campus.
Michigan 4-H members are invited to participate in the conformation and showmanship classes, dairy quiz bowl, and youth management and judging contests to earn an opportunity to represent the state at national events in the fall.
Those who participate in three of the four contests – dairy management, dairy quiz bowl, dairy judging and showmanship – are eligible to be selected as the overall winner based on their performance in each event. The lowest score is dropped of those who participate in all four. Overall winners in the junior and senior divisions receive a $1,000 scholarship to put toward college, or juniors can apply their winnings to the purchase of their next 4-H dairy animals. One runner-up in each division receives a $750 scholarship. Winners will be recognized at the Michigan Dairy Expo celebration picnic and 4-H program recognition night July 21.
The Michigan 4-H Dairy Days Youth Show, open to all youth ages 9 to 19 as of Jan. 1, 2011, takes place July 19. Premiums will be awarded to the top 10 placing animals in the 4-H youth show and for the junior, senior and grand champions. The supreme champion animal entry and grand champion showperson will also receive money awards.
In addition, the champion heifer entry, champion milking cow entry and champion showperson from the youth show will take part in the third annual Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-abration auction July 19 at 6 p.m. in the sale arena. At this sale, the champion and reserve champion winners from the Michigan Livestock Expo, held the previous weekend at the MSU Pavilion, will be struck off to the highest bidder. Various dairy products will represent the 4-H dairy youth show champions on the auction block. The champion heifer and milking female owners will receive up to $500 and the champion showperson will receive up to $1,000 from the sale of the dairy items, with any amount above those figures directed to scholarships and the Michigan 4-H dairy youth program.
In the dairy management contest, participants work individually to identify equipment, solve problems and demonstrate skills common in the dairy industry. This year will be the first time a novice division will be offered for 9-, 10- and 11-year-old contestants. Youth are allowed to compete as a novice for two years before moving on to the junior division. The dairy management contest will be held on Monday, July 18, and not Thursday as in previous years. Additionally, the winning senior team in the management contest gets the opportunity to represent Michigan in the management contest held during the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pa.
The dairy judging contest takes place Wednesday, July 20, and is an opportunity for youth to test their dairy evaluation skills. Similar to the management contest, this is the first year the contest will offer a novice division designed to give 9-, 10- and 11-year-old participants. Youth in the senior division that place among the top 25 individuals will be invited to participate in a series of practices during the summer to earn a place on the Michigan 4-H dairy judging teams that compete this fall at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisville, Pa.; World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.; and the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky.
The dairy quiz bowl is another event held during 4-H Dairy Days that provides youth with the chance to demonstrate their dairy knowledge. Participants can compete in either the junior or senior divisions, based on 4-H age, and are organized into teams to compete in the "Jeopardy"-style contest. The dairy quiz bowl will be held on Thursday, July 21 – a different day of the week than in the past. The winning dairy quiz bowl team will earn the opportunity to represent Michigan in the National Dairy Quiz Bowl contest held in November at the NAILE in Louisville, Ky.
A copy of the 4-H Dairy Days/Michigan Dairy Expo premium book, which includes an entry form and a complete schedule of events, is available online at http://www.canr.msu.edu/anscikids/dairy.html or from any MSU Extension county office. To receive a premium book by mail or to request more information about Michigan Dairy Expo, contact Carla McLachlan at 517-432-5402 or [email protected].
Michigan Dairy Expo is the largest annual dairy event in the state. Last year's event drew more than 400 dairy animals and more than 200 exhibitors. The mission of Michigan Dairy Expo is to encourage and promote youth involvement in dairy activities, showcase the Michigan dairy industry, and provide continuing education opportunities for the dairy industry in Michigan and neighboring states.