Celebrating passionate young agricultural leaders, the first annual Churn It Up National Yield Competition aims to inspire those entering the farming world. It is, first and foremost, an organization that aims to continue the education of tomorrow's bright dairy farmers while making it exciting to learn more about the agricultural industry, with hope of scholarship money and national recognition.
The Churn It Up National Yield Competition follows the general organization of the traditional regional yield competitions that have been a mainstay in communities across the country for years, awarding those whose cows produce the highest dairy yield during a 305-day lactation period. Bringing this competition nationwide is an important opportunity for entrants and industry professionals to demonstrate their commitment to the industry and support of the future of dairy farming.
The competition is available to all young dairy farmers ages 9 to 19, nationwide. Joining the competition is a great way for tomorrow's agricultural industry leaders to participate in something that connects them to Dairy Lovers nationwide. Those interested in continuing their education will be able to vie for a college scholarship of $6,500 and the support of the industry's leading organizations and associations. Furthermore, simply participating in this national competition will educate entrants as they navigate their way through the dairy industry, teaching them how to humanely and responsibly take care of their cow and the work ethic needed for dairy farming.
Promoted alongside the competition's grand prize and runner up prizes, the Minerva Dairy Creamery Cup recognizes the entrant who submits this year's most inspiring story. Entrants who have submitted their final yield results are asked to share with us what family farming means to them or simply share the story of themselves and their cow. Judges will choose one young dairy farmer to be awarded this $1,500 scholarship.
The Churn It Up National Yield Competition's presence in the agricultural industry is more important now than ever. Dairy farming is an important part of rural economies and of the food industry. Each cow generates approximately $20,000 of economic activity in the local community each year, but new farmers still face significant barriers. Five to 10 percent of the nation's dairy farmers retire every year, and upcoming dairy farmers are not entering the profession at a rate that offsets the loss of retiring producers. Because the average age of farmers is 59 years old and many do not have an identified successor, farm loss is expected to continue. With programs established like the Churn It Up National Yield Competition, the agricultural industry can rally around today's dairy farmers and help to secure a bright future for tomorrow's industry leaders.