Indiana youth interested in careers in the dairy industry are encouraged to attend the 2017 Indiana 4-H Dairy Youth Conference on April 8.

The conference, staged as a mystery investigation to find “Bessy the cow’s illness,” will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, 2002 Pleasant St., Noblesville.

The conference will provide networking and educational opportunities for students in grades 3-12. The goal is to help participants enhance their knowledge of the dairy industry and learn more about raising and showing dairy cattle, said Kelly Heckaman, director of Purdue Extension-Kosciusko County.

“The 4-H members will get to use their problem-solving and decision-making skills to figure out real-world scenarios,” she said.

The conference will be split into two sessions. Participants in grades 3-7 will attend workshops and educational talks presented by dairy industry professionals. Sessions include:

  • “Crime Scene: Milking Parlor”
  • “Biosecurity: Are We Keeping Bessy Safe?”
  • “Disease Detectives”
  • “Nutrition Know-How”

The schedule for participants in grades 8-12 includes problem-solving workshops organized like a case study. In the morning, students will meet with an Indiana dairy producer and a cattle nutritionist. In the afternoon, participants will evaluate the scenario provided by the dairy farmer and practice providing nutritional recommendations.

Registration for the conference is $15 per person and is due by March 31 to Kelly Heckaman at Purdue Extension-Kosciusko County, 2020 W. Main St., Warsaw. The fee includes a T-shirt, admission, breaks, meals and handouts. Late and on-site registration is available but does not guarantee a T-shirt or meals.

Details about the conference, including the registration form, can be accessed online at