7/24/2017 9:50:00 AM Lindahl eager to represent all Minnesota dairy farmers
Madelin Lindahl is a Princess Kay finalist representing Chisago County. Lindahlís main responsibility is milking her familyís 100 registered cows on their farm near Lindstrom, Minn. PHOTO BY JENNIFER COYNE
Lindahl pushes up feed during morning chores July 10 at her familyís dairy. PHOTO BY JENNIFER COYNE
LINDSTROM, Minn. - Madelin Lindahl has been a part of the Chisago County's dairy princess program since she was a young girl, first representing the industry as Little Miss. Many years later, Lindahl, 21, is a 2017 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist and proudly representing dairy farmers across Minnesota. "I've been involved in the dairy princess program since I was 5 years old," Madelin said. "I've always considered myself an ambassador for the industry, and that in turn has led me to this experience - serving my family's farm and dairy farms around the state." Madelin grew up on her family's dairy farm near Lindstrom, Minn., with her parents - Kevin and Tara - and younger siblings - Isabelle and Isaac - where they milk 100 registered Holsteins and Jerseys with Kevin's brother and his wife and family. In May, when Madelin was selected as a finalist for the Princess Kay competition, she wanted to first tell her grandmother, Judy, who could not be present for the announcement. Madelin's grandmother and grandfather, Larry, started Lindahl Farms. "I was taken aback, this is so exciting," Madelin said. "My grandma has always wanted a butterhead in the family, but didn't have the opportunity with a daughter. Now, she has the chance with her granddaughter." As a finalist, Madelin is using her skills gained in various community and school organizations, such as 4-H and speech, to connect with consumers and advocate for dairy truths. "Above all, I think these different organizations have given me 10-plus years of wealth in leadership and exercising my communication skills," Madelin said. Her mother agreed. "She is intelligent," Tara said. "Madelin understands people's concerns and is able to provide good information to refute those misunderstandings. As an industry, that's a good thing." On her family's farm, Madelin is responsible for milking. However, this summer she has been busy balancing chores between her own farm and that of the University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minn., as a dairy intern. While she continues to learn more about the industry, it was through school that she realized her career would involve cows. "At first, I was studying chemical engineering, because I thought that was my best bet for job security. I soon realized dairy is what I'm passionate about, and I'm now taking classes that I have an interest in," said Madelin, who is studying dairy science at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Tara is proud of her daughter's ability to represent the industry through her on-farm experiences and that of her internship. "Seeing all the work that has to get done on the farm, a true dairy princess doesn't just wear a crown. She gets her fingers dirty and has real farming experience," Tara said. "Those experiences are valuable to Madelin as she prepares for August." When Madelin became more involved in her county dairy princess program, she realized her potential through the encouragement of others and developed a platform she is now able to share as a Princess Kay finalist. Together with the other 11 women, Madelin wants to emphasize the hard work and dedication dairy farmers have to produce a nutritious food product, while at the same time being responsible with the land and resources used. "Farmers provide the best for the animals, so in turn they are providing the best for the consumers. This effort is only capable through the time, money, blood, sweat and tears of dairy farmers; they put their whole world into farming, but don't receive the world in return," Madelin said. As Kevin watches his daughter exemplify the role of a Princess Kay finalist and the message she passionately shares, he sees how fitting this responsibility is for Madelin. "Madelin has always been mature, a very good advocate and a people person. People are comfortable being around her and that lets her tell our story," Kevin said. With the August competition on the horizon, Madelin is keeping up to date with industry news for both producers and consumers. She is also honing in on her presentation and communication skills. "I think it's helpful already being involved in the industry and having so many years of experience," Madelin said. "People have also been able to give me a wealth of information." After having her likeness carved in butter, Madelin would like to plan a movie night for the community to thank them for their support of her endeavors. She hopes to use the butter to garnish the movie popcorn. Whatever may come of the Princess Kay competition, Madelin is treasuring this opportunity to talk about her family's livelihood and how much time is invested into dairy farming. "This has been such a worthy experience," Madelin said. "To grow up on a farm and now represent my family is not something I am taking for granted."