SDSU Dairy Club gears up to host Midwestern Regional conference of the American Dairy Science Association Student Affiliate Division

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The student members of the South Dakota State University Dairy Club have formed committees, chosen a logo, launched social media pages and jumped into preparations to host the 2017 Midwestern Regional conference of the American Dairy Science Association Student Affiliate Division, Feb. 3-5, at the Days Inn and on the SDSU campus in Brookings, SD. The American Dairy Science Association is a professional organization for those interested in Dairy Science and has approximately 5,000 members from around the world. The Student Affiliate Division caters specifically to students studying Dairy Science and preparing for careers in this field.

Playing host to this conference is no small task as more than 400 students from 14 states are expected to attend the three-day event. Attendees will compete in various events and contests including a quiz bowl, and have their club scrapbooks/yearbooks evaluated. Educational sessions will cover a variety of pertinent dairy industry topics presented by industry experts. Tours of the SDSU Davis Dairy Plant and local dairy farms will also be conducted. A Career Fair during the event will help students network with dairy industry employers. A banquet and dance will cap off the festivities.

Audrey Souza of Milbank, SD, and Cole Hoyer of West Salem, WI, are co-chairs for the conference. They are overseeing a variety of subcommittees composed of the 80 members of the SDSU Dairy Club.

The Dairy Club Executive committee attended the 2016 meeting, held in Fort Wayne, IN, and presented a successful proposal for SDSU to host the 2017 meeting. This will be the fourth year that SDSU has played host-previous conferences were hosted by the SDSU Dairy Club in Brookings in 1996, 2005 and 2010.

“It’s a lot of fun for the students involved in the dairy industry to get together for this conference,” Bernice Vander Wal, current Dairy Club President, explains. “We will be working with these people throughout our careers.”

Vikram Mistry, Head of the SDSU Dairy and Food Science Department, notes that he attended his first ADSA Student Affiliate conference in 1980 and met current ADSA President Lou Armentano, University of Wisconsin, at that meeting, thus forming a life-long professional relationship.

The SDSU students have chosen the conference theme, “All We Have We Owe to Udders.” Megan Schaefer, Dairy Club Historian and past president, provides more details about the theme, noting, “Everything we have, accomplish and get to do in life, we owe to others. Our families, professors, friends and mentors are crucial to our success.”

As part of their preparations for the conference, the SDSU Dairy Club members have set a fundraising goal to raise the estimated $45,000 they anticipate it will cost to host the event. The Club is anticipating contributions from industry, alumni and others interested in this event that will host the future leaders of the dairy industry.

Learn more about the American Dairy Science Association Student Affiliate Division at, or visit the Facebook page devoted to the event Midwest Regional ADSA-SAD at

For more information or to help support the event, contact Bernice Vander Wal at 507-215-2424, or email

About the South Dakota State University Dairy and Food Science Department

With expertise in Dairy Production, Dairy Manufacturing, and Food Science, the South Dakota State University Dairy and Food Science Department covers the entire spectrum of the dairy industry; from farm to product. The department is housed in the newly renovated Alfred Dairy Science Hall, attached to which is the new state of the art Davis Dairy Plant. The South Dakota State University dairy farm provides the source of milk for well-known SDSU ice cream and cheese products, and is home to some 150 milking Holsteins and Brown Swiss cattle. The Department boasts 100% job placement for graduates, offers more than $120,000 in scholarships to students and confers Bachelors, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. Learn more at