Summer 2012


Dairy Cattle Judging Team 2009 flanked by David Dickson on the far left and former team coach Ted Halbach, far right. Photo courtesy UW Foundation

A dozen years of cattle judging have taught Laura Elliott a lot.

“You get to see all of your work and determination pay off when you realize just how much you have learned, not only about cows but also about yourself,” says Elliott, a senior majoring in dairy science and life sciences communication.

Elliott is a member of the CALS Dairy Cattle Judging Team. Her group placed first in the Jersey category at this year’s Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Texas—the most recent in a regular stream of team honors over the years. Much of the team’s competitive strength rests on its ability to travel, which is made possible by the David Dickson Dairy Cattle Judging Team Fund.

“We travel to four regional contests and to the national contest every year,” says team member Danielle Brown, another dairy science/life sciences communication major. “Also, we spend about a month visiting the best farms around the state to practice. We don’t have to worry about getting to the best herds and being the best prepared team.”

The fund, named in honor of the late longtime coach and professor of dairy science David Dickson MS’63 PhD’67, serves as the primary funding for an activity that allows students to develop important professional skills needed in—and beyond—the dairy industry.

Ted Halbach, who served as the team coach for 12 years before stepping down last summer to focus on directing the Farm and Industry Short Course program, describes the team’s far-reaching benefits.

“According to employers, students who take part in this activity become better decision-makers and better problem-solvers than students who do not participate in dairy cattle judging,” says Halbach. They also become better communicators. “Our teams are recognized as some of the very best for their communications skills, often winning the Oral Reasons portion of the competition,” he says.

It was a joy to see students develop those skills, says Halbach. “Students start with the judging team their sophomore year, and just to see that growth and maturity develop through their senior year, really, it’s very rewarding,” he says. “That was my favorite part of the program.”

To help support the David Dickson Dairy Cattle Judging Team Fund, visit:

The UW Foundation maintains more than 6,000 gift funds that provide critical resources for the educational and research activities of CALS.

This article was posted in Agriculture, Next Steps, Summer 2012 and tagged , , , , , , .