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Nerding out and giving back

04.05.18

Unless you’ve competed in dairy bowl, the terms Acetonemia, BAA and cropped ears probably don’t mean much to you. If you are a dairy nerd, like me, who has spent hours studying the fundamental (and sometimes random) facts that makeup dairy bowl, your mind goes right to the scientific name for Ketosis, Breed Age Average and slight discrimination.

Dairy bowl is an activity designed to encourage kids to increase their dairy knowledge through study and preparation for a contest. While preparing for the contest, kids learn life skills like critical thinking, decision-making and communication. For the past few years, I have been lucky enough to help the bright kids of Dane County do just that as their coach. So, what does it mean to be a dairy bowl coach?

  • Lifelong student – I’m always on the lookout for stories and data that could pop up as a dairy bowl question. While I’m flipping through the pages of the latest issue of Progressive Dairyman to see our client’s ad, I’m also flagging the next set of questions to write.
  • Quizlet extraordinaire – During the work week, I’m your go-to girl for creating timelines and presentations. On the weekend, it’s Quizlets. To organize and share the hundreds of questions that go into dairy bowl, I use Quizlet to create online notecards. Then, when the next round of bull proofs come out, I can direct my kids to my updated Genetics and Sire Summaries set.
  • Cheerleader – Gold stars go a long way. From recognizing a coworker who went the extra mile, to the shy junior who finally worked up the courage to hit the buzzer, even if they don’t get the question right. Confusing villi and papillae happens to all of us.

Out of all the dairy youth activities I’m involved in, dairy bowl is one of my all-time favorites. Not only does it allow me to channel my inner dairy nerd and competitive spirit, but the best part is sharing my passion for dairy knowledge with the next generation of dairy youth. When I think about my role as a dairy bowl coach, it’s not just about winning a round or getting that bonus question but igniting a passion for an industry that is so dear to me.