Michigan State University hosted a week of dairy-focused events July 19-23 during the 14th annual Michigan Dairy Expo. The week included a full schedule of youth contests and activities, a youth and open dairy cattle show, a sale to raise money for scholarships and youth dairy programming; and kid-focused activities for youth and families from Lansing and the surrounding areas.

The week began with Michigan 4-H Dairy Days. As the youth-centered portion of the Michigan Dairy Expo, 4-H Dairy Days offers young people interested in the dairy industry opportunities to compete for premiums, ribbons and scholarships in various activities, including dairy quiz bowls, dairy management contests, dairy cattle judging competitions and the Dairy Days youth show. Winners may go on to represent Michigan in national competitions.

The Michigan Dairy Expo open shows were held July 22-23; heifers were shown on July 22 and cows were exhibited on July 23. Showpersons of all ages competed for awards and recognition in the Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn and Red and White Holstein classes. This year’s event drew more than 450 animals and featured more than 200 exhibitors.

( Click here to read about Joe Domecq, MSU Extension dairy youth specialist, discussing 4-H Dairy Days.)


The 13th annual Great Dairy Adventure was held July 21. The free one-day consumer education event was geared to the young (and young at heart), families, day-care providers and summer campers, and anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of the importance of Michigan’s dairy industry to the state’s economy, the multi-step journey milk takes to reach our refrigerators and the nutritious benefits dairy products provide.


The event also gave attendees the opportunity to talk to and learn from local farmers and ask questions about how food gets from the farm to their table. This year’s Great Dairy Adventure hosted nearly 3,000 people from Lansing and surrounding communities.

( Click here to see a video from this year’s Great Dairy Adventure.)

For the second year, youth who exhibited the supreme champion dairy cow and supreme champion dairy heifer during the 4-H Dairy Days youth show, as well as the champion showperson, represented the dairy species in the second annual Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-abration sale held July 20. These winners included Tera Koebel, from Three Oaks, Michigan, with the supreme champion dairy cow (Jersey); Parker Hardy of Tipton, with the supreme champion dairy heifer (Holstein); and Katie Arndt of St. Johns, as the supreme showperson.

Koebel and Hardy each took home $500, and Arndt received $1,000. Proceeds collected above those amounts benefit the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund. The dairy portion of the fund supports dairy youth programs through educational grants and scholarships.


Dairy gift baskets donated by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) were presented to the dairy buyers. The dairy gift basket representing the supreme champion dairy cow sold for $7,000 to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA).

The supreme champion dairy heifer gift basket brought $4,000 from Kalmbach Feeds. A $4,000 bid from the UDIM purchased the basket recognizing the supreme dairy champion showperson.

The dairy products sold at auction were displayed by Melissa Erdman , Minden City, an MSU animal science senior and 2010 senior Michigan Dairy Ambassador.

Michigan Dairy Expo is the largest annual dairy event in the state. 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.

TOP RIGHT: The Michigan Dairy Expo open show is an excellent opportunity for both youth and adult showmen to exhibit their animals and stay involved in showing cattle. Tera Koebel, of Three Oaks, Michigan, and Mary Costigan, of Coopersville, pause for a photo with their winning Jerseys. Photo courtesy of ANR Communications.

TOP LEFT: Kids at this year’s Great Dairy Adventure had the chance to participate in many fun and educational activities. Here, Michigan State University Dairy Club member Kevin Messing is teaching youth how to milk a cow. Photo courtesy of ANR Communications.

MIDDLE RIGHT: Cows eat what? A group of young people learn about the feeds that cows eat at the annual Great Dairy Adventure consumer education day held during Michigan Dairy Expo.

--Information and photos provided by Sara Long, Communications Manager at Michigan State University's Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Read more about the Michigan Dairy Expo:
Berrien, Lenawee County Youth Exhibit 4-H Dairy Days Champions; Master Showperson is From Clinton Co
Breuninger, Sweers Win 2010 4-H Dairy Days Dairy Judging Contest
Frahm, Ratterink Named Overall Award Winners at Annual Dairy Expo, Receive $1,000 Prizes
Once Again, Ottawa County 4-H’ers Win Junior, Senior Divisions of 4-H Dairy Days Dairy Management Co
Allegan County Teams Sweep Novice, Junior and Senior Divisions in 4-H Dairy Days Quiz Bowl at Expo