Quinci Scherber farms together with her parents, John and Staci, on their 100-cow dairy near Rogers, Minn.PHOTO BY MARK KLAPHAKE
Quinci Scherber farms together with her parents, John and Staci, on their 100-cow dairy near Rogers, Minn.
ROGERS, Minn. - As a dairy princess in Hennepin County, Quinci Scherber knows there are many opportunities to talk about dairy with people who don't know much about the industry.
Scherber's family's 100-cow dairy in Rogers, Minn., is on one end of the county, while Minneapolis and a portion of the Twin Cities metro area dominates the other. As a Hennepin County dairy princess and one of the 12 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists this year, Scherber is excited to share her dairy knowledge with others.
"I don't have to go very far to find someone who hasn't had the farm experience or interaction with farmers and agriculture," said Scherber, who is the 23-year-old daughter of John and Staci Scherber. "When I'm out and about [as a dairy princess] I'm with people who are very open and curious about farming because it's new to them ..."
This is Scherber's third year serving as a county dairy princess and the last year she is eligible.
"As a fourth generation farmer, it's something that's really important for me to be able to do for the Hennepin County farmers because there aren't as many farms and (the county) doesn't have much of an rural culture," Scherber said.
At the Hennepin County Fair in June, the dairy princesses helped bring more agricultural presence to the event.
"It's always really fun to go talk to the kids and parents. We can usually find some people with agriculture backgrounds, but we also talk to kids who have never been around a cow," said Scherber, who handed out cheese and Got Milk? tattoos during the event.
Scherber has also been able to ride in parades, where she and fellow county dairy princesses passed out cheese curds.
"It's always fun to see people's reaction when they realized they got cheese instead of candy. They are really excited," Scherber said.
Throughout the rest of the summer, Scherber hopes to visit grocery stores and libraries to teach others about dairy farming and products made from milk.
During her interactions with others, Scherber likes to talk about her family's farm.
"One message that is important to me is how much care our farmers put into working with the animals and the farm. People hear a lot [of misinformation] so I want to be able to give my first-hand experience of what I do on my farm to care for my animals and the farm," Scherber said.
She likes to further explain how caring for the animals and land helps create quality dairy products.
When she speaks with kids, Scherber enjoys talking about cows.
"I love to talk about how much they eat and drink in a day - eating 100 pounds each day and drinking a whole bathtub of water - and then that we provide them with a 24/7 buffet of food and water. We're always taking care of them," she said.
If chosen as Princess Kay, Scherber wants to continue to participate in events close to home.
"It would be exciting to do a lot of activities in Hennepin County - probably because it is near and dear in my heart - to continue to spread that dairy message to people who aren't as exposed to it," she said.
But she would also like to visit schools and cities across the state.
"I would continue to spread the message of my personal experience of how I care for my animals. I think it means a lot to people when they hear the personal story of how I care for my animals and work for the production of a healthy product," she said.
Although being a dairy princess has provided Scherber with many opportunities and enhanced her skills, she said she likes the role for other reasons.
"The first thing that got me motivated was doing it for my mom and dad, and grandpa because they're the ones who started the farm. They're the ones who started me young with my farm experience and my love for the farm and dairy," she said. "But I definitely am doing it for all farmers, believing in what they provide and wanting to share that."