South Dakota State University earned all top honors at the 88th Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest held last month at the Kraft Foods Research and Development Center in Glenview, Ill. SDSU captured the all-products title, and three undergraduate students and one graduate student from the university were named individual all-products winners.
Clemson University placed second, followed by University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University and the University of Tennessee. Eleven universities in all participated this year.
The national contest was started in 1916 to recognize students and dairy product judging teams that had mastered the ability to identify high-quality dairy products. The venue allows students to showcase their evaluation skills and prepare for careers in the dairy industry.
Each year teams of students evaluate prepared samples of cheddar cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream to identify potential defects in flavor, appearance and texture. These defects can affect quality of the product. Dairy science professors developed a standardized set of defects for training purposes, and undergraduate and graduate students in dairy science are trained to identify them.
In addition to the all-products category, there are winners for six product categories: cheddar cheese, butter, fluid milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
The Dairy Recognition and Education Foundation (DREF), overseen by IDFA, offers awards to winning students who are majoring in dairy processing technology, agri-business or food science and their coach. The winners of this year's DREF awards are Cassey Utke of SDSU (pictured), first-place individual all-products winner and cottage cheese category winner, $500; Jordan Dorneman of SDSU, second-place individual all-products winner and first-place winner in the yogurt and cheddar cheese categories, $500; Nicole Stevens of SDSU, third-place individual all-products winner, $200; and Dr. Bob Baer, coach of the SDSU team, $500. The first-place winner in each of the other three categories also received $100 from DREF.
"These are the future leaders of the dairy industry," said Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards. "We thank all the companies that supported the teams this year and encourage them to continue to provide this opportunity for students to polish skills needed in the dairy processing industry."
Companies that would like to make a donation for the 2010 contest may contact Dr. David Selner, National Dairy Shrine, P.O. Box 1, Maribel, WI 54227. ATTN: Collegiate Dairy Product Evaluation Contest.
The contest is sponsored by the National Dairy Shrine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service, with support from the American Dairy Science Association and U.S. dairy processors.
For more information about this year's winners, contact Charlsia Fortner, agricultural marketing specialist for USDA and superintendent of the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest, at Charlsia.Fortner@ams.usda.gov.