The dairy barn was filled with smiles and cheers as the Sunbelt Ag Expo held its first-ever all-women cow milking contest on Oct. 15. ABAC’s own Lecturer of Animal Science, Allison Miller, represented ABAC competing against Extension Agents and Professors from The University of Georgia, The University of Florida and Auburn University.
“I’m proud to be one of the women allowed to participate in this first all-women milking contest,” Miller said.
The milking contest has been around for quite some time and has had many competitors from colleges all over the southeast. The family-friendly event was an idea adopted by Bill Pattern, a long-time Sunbelt Ag Expo Board Member and Livestock Section, Coordinator.
During the Expo, the Georgia Mobile Dairy gives milking demonstrations led by Nicole K. Duvall. Duvall brought her own Jersey cow, Jazzy. Jazzy was accompanied by three Holstein cows from the UGA research dairy. These four cows were used during the contest. Each contestant was allotted one minute per cow to retrieve as much milk as possible before rotating to the next cow.
The contest follows traditional hand-milking practices. Though dairy cows tend to be more temperamental, the UGA cows were young and had never been to the Expo. This caused them to move around and make the milking process more complicated for the contestants but more interesting for the audience.
“She brought the biggest crowd,” Vonda Fenn, ABAC Program Support Specialist said, referring to the sea of yellow shirts that filled the crowd. Fenn ordered t-shirts designed by Audrey Luke-Morgan and Assistant professors at ABAC. The shirts were available for students to purchase and wear during the milking contest and read “Miller the Master Milker” on the backs.
The yellow shirts and the rest of the crowd cheered as Miller rotated between the cows. However, the crowd wasn’t enough, UF Extension Agent Colleen Larson was named the Champion Milker for the 2019 Sunbelt Ag Expo Milking Contest.
“It doesn’t matter that she didn’t win,” Drew Thomason, former ABAC student says, “She is an encourager and that’s what makes her an excellent woman in ag.”