Maryland Dairy Judging Heads Overseas
From candy and quilts to embryos and heifers, the 2013 Maryland 4-H Dairy Judging team has been extremely busy this year with their fundraising efforts. The final fundraiser wrapped up on Sunday at the Maryland Purebred Dairy Cattle Associations Combined Breed Field Day where a raffle ticket was drawn for a quilt that was hand pieced and machine finished by Kiera Finucane.
500 tickets were sold and helped raise over $2000 dollars towards the teams goal. The winner of the drawing was Gail Yeiser. Congratulations and thank you to all who supported this effort. Another extremely important fundraiser for this team was the donation by Kingstead Farms. Mary and Douglas King donated their semen tank, complete with many straws of highly sought after semen and several eggs from well know Maryland cows. This donation alone raised over $12,000 for the team and we cannot thank them enough!
In October 2013, the Maryland 4-H Dairy Judging Team traveled to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin to compete at the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest. The team consisting of Cassidy Schirmer, Kent County; Courtney Hoff, Carroll County; Julia Doody, Montgomery County; and Ian Doody, Montgomery County finished as the high team in Oral Reasons and the high team Overall. This tremendous achievement would not have been possible without the coaching they received on this team from Anne Davis of Carroll County, from their county 4-H dairy judging coaches, from the vast number of volunteers who listen to reasons and help the youth place classes throughout their 4-H careers. It truly takes a State to make a winning team and this group proves that once again by bringing the 31st National Champion title home to Maryland. Winning the contest opens a large number of doors for these youth, but the most immediate and exciting one is the opportunity to judge on an international platform through Agrotours, Inc.
This winter and spring has been filled with various fundraising activities to help support the team in this endeavor. Countless hours are logged in the preparation of judging classes to perfecting oral reasons techniques. Winning the contest in October provided another opportunity and yet another challenge to these young people. The opportunity was to travel internationally to judge dairy cattle, but the challenge was to fundraise $35,000 in order to do so. This was daunting task to say the least. This group, along with their families and coaches Anne Davis and Kiera Finucane, came up with a plan and like the rest of their 4-H careers taught them, put that plan into action. Fundraising can be a stressful experience, but it also teaches the youth that they must work together and work for what they want.
On Wednesday, June 18th, the team heads across the pond to begin their two week journey across Scotland, England and Ireland. We will have the opportunity to judge cattle at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland, visit Warwick Castle in England, catch a play in London and travel to Ireland where we will compete in another judging contest and stay on host farms. The team will return home on July 2nd with several new stamps in their passports and many stories to tell.
Many of you have supported the fundraising efforts put forth by the team over the past eight months. The programs long term success and viability is possible only through the time, effort and financial support of the entire dairy industry in Maryland. While the team and 4-H program cannot send each and every one of you a personal thank you card, we would like to invite you along on our international adventure with us. Please look for daily updates on our blog.
For more information on the 4-H Dairy Program in Maryland, please contact Kiera Finucane at (301) 405-1392.