Photo credit: Dennis Halladay, Hoard’s Dairyman
It was an exciting day for the Green County 4-H program, the community of Juda, and 2 local families especially. On Monday, October 1, the Green County 4-H Dairy Judging team competed for the national title at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, and won.
It would be accurate to say that the pair of siblings – Clayton and Cole Mahlkuch, and Brian and Rachel McCullough – have grown up side-by-side. They’ve gone to school together, participated in 4-H and FFA together, been in many dairy show rings together, and judged dairy cattle together since they were little. Their family farms are even less than 5 miles apart.
The team’s coach, Mike Marean of Albany, has known the Mahlkuch and McCullough families since he was a kid growing up in the Green County 4-H program himself, and he says the closeness the 4 of them have created is truly unique and special. “It is not every day you get the opportunity to work with kids that have the desire, drive and talent these kids have collectively shown,” says Marean. “To have 4 kids all from the same school, the same 4-H club and live less than 5 miles apart from each other win a prestigious contest is special for the Juda community. The national 4-H contest is the best of the best from around the United States. To compete and win on that stage, with the best talent from each state, is something special.” Marean has been coaching the 4-H dairy judging team for the past 28 years, and was also a part of the dairy judging team when he was a young 4-H member.
This year’s dairy judging team participated in weekly practices starting in April that led up to the regional competition at Area Animal Science Day in Darlington on June 29. As the winner of the regional competition, Green County’s senior team advanced on to the State 4-H Dairy Judging competition, held on July 16th in Black River Falls, and won there as well. The next stop in their journey was the national competition, held at World Dairy Expo in Madison on October 1. As the winner of the national competition, Clayton, Cole, Brian and Rachel, along with Mike as their coach, will compete at the International 4-H Dairy Judging contest in Edinburgh, Scotland in June of 2019.
At the national competition on October 1, Brian McCullough led the team as second high individual in the contest, was fourth in oral reasons and fourth in the placings-only contest. Rachel McCullough finished in 12th place and was second-place in the placings-only contest. Cole Mahlkuch placed 22nd and earned All-American honors along with Brian and Rachel McCullough. Only 1 point separated the 1st place Wisconsin team from the 2nd place Minnesota team. This is the 12th team from Wisconsin to win the national contest, which has been in existence since 1919.
The Dairy project is one of more than 60 projects available for youth in Green County 4-H to explore, and Dairy Judging is just one opportunity of many within the Dairy project. For more information about Green County 4-H, contact Ellen Andrews, 4-H Youth Development Educator, at 328-9440 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at greencounty4h.info.