by Laura Monico, social media editor
Saegertown senior Erika Caldwell traveled to Madison, Wisconsin Sept. 30 through Oct. 5 as one of six Pennsylvania representatives to the National 4-H Dairy Conference.
Caldwell was nominated this past summer by her 4-H leaders, Alexis and Brooke Caldwell, to apply for the opportunity. After applying, Caldwell received a phone call from the Penn State Extension Office for an interview. Following the interview, Caldwell was selected as one of six from Pa., and one of over 200 from across the United States and Canada to travel to Wisconsin for the event.
The National 4-H Dairy Conference is an organization that was created to allow leading dairy 4-H individuals to come together, build relationships, and grow their knowledge of the industry. The event is held at the University of Wisconsin College of Ag and Life Sciences.
At the conference, Caldwell attended multiple seminars which covered the topics of proper calf feeding and precision dairy monitoring. She also participated in a lactation lab and the dissection of an udder. The group toured local dairy destinations including Hoard’s Dairymen, ABS Global, Dairy Shrine Museum, and Crave Brothers Farms.
Taking place at the same time as the conference was the World Dairy Expo, a five day event that showcases the best cattle from across the country and displays the latest technology in the industry. “My favorite part was watching the World Dairy expo. Everyone there was really nice and friendly, and they are all passionate about the Dairy industry,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell currently lives on her family’s second generation dairy farm: “Lu-JaDo Farm.” Although Caldwell does not plan to live on a dairy farm in her future, she enjoyed her experience. “Yes, I loved it there. I did not want to come back although I missed my cows,” Caldwell said. “It made me realize how much the dairy industry is hurting. I feel that farmers do not get enough credit for what they do. They deserve more.”