Eastland team wins national dairy judging competition

A team of four high school students from Eastland FFA in Lanark, topped the National Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management competition at the 2021 National FFA Convention that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana on Oct. 27-30.

The team consisted of Delana Erbsen, Nevin Erbsen, Alyssa Miller and Ella Gunderson.

In order to compete in the national contest, the Eastland team first competed at and won the Illinois State FFA dairy judging competition in April.

Following many hours of virtual and in-person practices and contests at farms and shows, the team then went on to represent the state at the national competition. There, the team competed against 37 other state teams and 148 individuals from across the nation, all tested on their ability to select and manage quality dairy cattle.

The participants judged six classes of dairy cows and heifers and presented reasons for their placings. Also included in the competition were a general dairy knowledge exam and a herd record evaluation.

The Eastland team now has the opportunity to travel to the 2022 International Dairy Judging Tour in Europe in June.

Delana Erbsen, a senior at Eastland, led the team as the top placing individual overall in the national contest, winning the categories of Brown Swiss, Jersey, and oral reasons. She is the daughter of Kevin and Wendy Erbsen, of Lanark.

Team member Nevin Erbsen is a junior at Eastland and is the son of Carl and Becky Erbsen, of Lanark. He placed second overall in the contest.

Alyssa Miller, a freshman at Highland Community College, is the daughter of Lyle and Codee Miller, of Lanark. She placed within the top 30 percent of contest participants, earning a gold award. She is a sophomore at Eastland High School and is the daughter of Rob and Kelli Gunderson, of Shannon.

Ella also placed within the top 30 percent of contest participants, earning a gold award.

The team was coached by Wendy Erbsen and Rob Gunderson, with support from Eastland FFA advisor Cindy Feltmeyer.