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The 65th event will be held in Middleton, Wis., Oct. 1-4. Attendees will tour several dairy businesses as well as World Dairy Expo.

Fran O'Leary

September 6, 2023

3 Min Read
2 teenage girls sitting on floor amid cardboard boxes and green cloth bags
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES: About 160 youth from across the country and two Canadian provinces are expected to attend the 65th National 4-H Dairy Conference, set for Oct. 1-4 in Middleton, Wis. Attendees will get an opportunity for hands-on learning. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NATIONAL 4-H DAIRY CONFERENCE

Organizers are looking for youth across the country to attend the 65th National 4-H Dairy Conference, Oct. 1-4 in Madison, Wis.

“The National 4-H Dairy Conference was established as an educational effort on behalf of the 4-H dairy project,” explains Charlie Crave, a conference volunteer from Crave Brothers Farm in Waterloo, Wis. “In 1955, Extension agents and dairy project volunteers throughout the country recognized the need for quality dairy programing for youth in the dairy project was apparent. Organizers wanted high school-age 4-H’ers to learn more about dairy, beyond showing cattle at the fair.”

The annual conference was originally held in Chicago. Then it transferred to Madison once World Dairy Expo was established in 1967. Now the event is held at the Marriott Hotel in Middleton, Wis., during World Dairy Expo. About 160 youth from across the country and two Canadian provinces attend the event each year. The committee is comprised of Extension personnel and volunteers.

“I started as a chaperone in 1999,” says Crave, who has served as a volunteer ever since.

“We are looking for high school-age dairy youth to attend who are eager to learn more about dairy,” Crave says. “They should contact their county Extension 4-H agent and 4-H club leaders for scholarships and funding to help pay the registration fee. A lot of counties and 4-H clubs have money available to support their dairy youth.”

The registration form is available online. The conference begins Oct. 1 and ends with a dance on the evening of Oct. 4.

“Dairy judging team members are allowed to attend the conference; however, you cannot show dairy cattle at World Dairy Expo and attend the conference,” Crave says.

Registration due Sept. 11

The registration fee for 2023 is $650 per person. This includes lodging from Oct. 1-4. Checkout is on Oct. 5. The cost includes meals and transportation during the conference. Additional nights may be reserved at the conference hotel on the registration form. Registration forms are due Sept. 11.

group of teenagers holding up crafted photo frames

“We have some of the best motivational speakers and tours available for attendees,” Crave says. “I think we do a great job of balancing speakers, tours, free time and activities. There is a session on finding a pathway to production agriculture. We have science fun with dairy food with Dr. Bob Horton from the Ohio State University, and we get to listen to a presentation from Alice in Dairyland.”

Attendees will tour ABS, ST Genetics, Hoard’s Dairyman, Jones Dairy Farm, Crave Brothers Farm and World Dairy Expo.

“The conference is jampacked with the best the industry has to offer,” Crave says. “This goes way beyond showing cattle. It includes learning lifetime skills and developing lasting friendships.”

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About the Author(s)

Fran O'Leary

Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

Even though Fran was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Wisconsin. She moved to the state when she was 18 years old and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Fran has 25 years of experience writing, editing and taking pictures. Before becoming editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist in 2003, she worked at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson as a writer and editor of farm business publications and at the Janesville Gazette in Janesville as farm editor and feature writer. Later, she signed on as a public relations associate at Bader Rutter in Brookfield, and served as managing editor and farm editor at The Reporter, a daily newspaper in Fond du Lac.

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