Clemson University Dairy Science Club members received multiple awards after attending the 2022 South Carolina State Fair.
Among the students and their bovine partners taking home awards are Lauren Epps, an animal and veterinary scientist from Marietta, South Carolina, and her cow, Orillia. Epps and Orillia placed 4th in Jersey Conformation (shape or structure) and 5th in Showmanship. Preparing for and participating in State Fair competitions complement what is taught in Clemson classes.
“We spent at least four hours a week getting our cows haltered and practicing standing up like a judge was watching us,” Epps said. “Practicing these skills and learning what judges look for complements what is learned in the classroom
, that we have practical experience in identifying attractive traits in livestock.”
Elizabeth McCabe, a veterinarian and veterinarian from Lexington, South Carolina, and her cow Vega placed 2ndnd in Collegiate Jersey Showmanship. Her cow took 6th place in junior jersey conformation.
“This includes breaking the halter on the animal and practicing leading and setting up for competition in the show ring,” McCabe said. “It’s also about learning as much information as possible about dairy cows and their physical constitution.”
Clemson Dairy Science Club members also participate in training and mock shows to help them prepare for the competition.
“Breaking the halter is the first aspect of training,” said Lydia Owens, exhibition chair for the Dairy Science Club of Pickens, South Carolina. “Once the heifers become accustomed to walking on a halter, they learn the finer details of showing, such as raising the head, walking slowly, and setting and changing feet and legs. ”
The course participants are supplemented with dairy knowledge acquired in class. During shows, students must be prepared to answer conformation related questions about their heifer, giving them experience in judging a dairy heifer for ideal conformation and structure and faults. They also need to know their heifer’s parents, who will introduce them to some of the genetics associated with dairy cows. Students will also gain experience working with the different breeds such as Jersey, Holstein, Guernsey and Brown Swiss and learn about the differences in breed purpose, structure and temperament.
Clemson Dairy Science Club Winner
at the SC State Fair 2022
Clemson Dairy Science Club members and their cattle partners winning at the 2022 South Carolina State Fair are:
· Category Holstein Showmanship: 1St Place Jessica Graham and “Minnie”, “2nd Place Grace Covan and “Kate” and 3approx Place Emmaleigh Walters and “Dory”.
Brown Swiss Showmanship Category: 1stSt Place Lydia Owens and “Dolly” 2ndnd Place Taylor Hancock and “Nan” and 3approx Place Jessica Zaya’s Pardo and Oakley.
Guernsey Showmanship Category: 1stSt Place Chloe Greaux and “Elsie”.
Jersey Showmanship Category: 1stSt Place Victoria Mueller with “Penny”, 2nd Place Elizabeth McCabe and “Vega” 3rdapprox Place Hannah Culler and “Ruby” and 5th Place Lauren Epps and “Orillia”.
· Holstein conformation Category: 1St Place in Class and Honorable Mention Breed Champion Emaleigh Walters and “Dory” (Clemson Charlston 4722 Tish), 1stSt Place in class and Reserve Junior Breed Champion Haley Scarborough and “Minnie” (Clemson Tropic 4019 Julie), 2ndnd 1st place in her class Grace Covan and “Kate” (Clemson Daredevil 4837 Pear).
· Brown Swiss conformation category: 2nd place in juniors and 3approx Place in the Open Lydia Owens and “Dolly” (Clemson Spark Dolly), 1St place in juniors and 2nd Open Taylor Hancock and “Nan” (Clemson Bosephus Nan) 1st placeSt place in juniors and 2nd Place in Open Chloe Link and “Oakley” (Clemson Diego Freya).
· Guernsey conformation category: 5th place in the juniors and 7th Place in the Open Sydney Grace Lewis and “Elsie” (Aldens HH Reputation Unforgettable).
· Jersey conformation category: 3approx place in the juniors and 4th Place in Open Heather Sarver and “Penny” (Clemson Holeinone 523 144), 6th place in the juniors and 8th Place in Open Elizabeth McCabe and “Vega” (Clemson Shocker 724 208), 4th place in the juniors and 7th Place in the Open Lauren Epps and “Orillia” (Cherub Colton Orillia), 7th Place Sara Etezadmozafar and “Ruby” (Clemson Holeinone 523 144).
Clemson Dairy Science Club
Cows shown during the State Fair are owned by Clemson University. Clemson LaMaster Dairy Center manager Reta Miller said students from all backgrounds are encouraged to join the Dairy Science Club. The Dairy Center is part of the Clemson Piedmont Research and Education Center.
“What’s unique about the Dairy Science Club is that it doesn’t require any experience,” Miller said. “Fees are very low, which encourages students from diverse backgrounds to participate.”
Participation in the club gives students hands-on time with large animals, especially cows. Once the students have completed all the required university training, they are assigned a heifer and begin training that animal to lead it on a halter. Once they have mastered leading and walking, students begin teaching their heifer how to walk appropriately for show and how to properly set up her feet.
“Once the animals are comfortable on the halter and have experienced the organized chaos of a cattle show, they settle down,” said Miller, who joined the Clemson Dairy Science Club show team as a freshman in 2011. “Having calm animals makes them easier to handle in all areas of the farm and also makes them better candidates for research projects.”
Miller became LaMaster Dairy Center manager in 2021. Each semester she typically employs six students to work on the farm.
“In my experience, being on the show team gets people interested in not just working on the dairy farm, but learning about the dairy industry as a whole,” she said.
Grace Covan, a senior from Honea Path, South Carolina, and president of the Clemson Dairy Science Club, said the show team welcomes new members every semester.
“Members of the Dairy Science Club champion the dairy industry, which is rapidly dying in South Carolina,” Covan said. “We do farm tours to educate members about how different farms work. We then apply what we learn to teach others at the various farm shows and community events we attend as a club. I have been a member of the club for 3 years. I made some of my best friends during that time.”
Covan said the club is always looking for new members and invites anyone interested to contact her at [email protected]
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