September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
"I really saw the disconnect between farmers and consumers as a student," Brooks said. "Promoting agriculture became my passion during my collegiate career. I wanted to share my story and take it to the next level."
Brooks will now be able to take her passion to the next level as the 67th Alice in Dairyland. Brooks was named Wisconsin's official agricultural ambassador out of six finalists during the finale banquet on May 17 in Curtiss, Wis.
"It was such a surreal moment. I was taken back and still don't remember exactly what happened that day," Brooks said. "I am excited to step into this role."
Brooks' desire to become Alice in Dairyland was driven from her experience at UW-Madison.
"I wanted to run for this right out of college," Brooks said.
Bill Berry, a field representative with American Farmland Trust, encouraged Brooks to run for the role of Alice.
"He was the one that told me to go for it," Brooks said. "He and my family have been a constant support for me."
Being able to serve as Alice in Dairyland is something Brooks credits to her background and involvement in agriculture.
Brooks grew up on her family's dairy farm where they milk 250 cows in a double-six herringbone parlor twice a day and run 1700 acres of alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat in Waupaca County near Waupaca, Wis.
Brooks plans to come back to the farm in the future.
"I look forward to one day returning to my family's farm," Brooks said. "I want to be able to partner with my dad and grow the operation. It's been in my family for 159 years. I want to continue the legacy."
Since her passion for promoting agriculture sparked during her four years at UW-Madison, Brooks took several opportunities to share her agricultural story with consumers.
Brooks became involved in promoting agriculture by serving as the director of the campus' collegiate Farm Bureau group. During that time, she taught fourth-graders about agriculture. Brooks also served as the Dane County's Ag in the Classroom coordinator through the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
"Teaching agriculture is an important part of the role as Alice in Dairyland," Brooks said. "I am looking forward to getting back in the classrooms again. I really enjoy being there and making a connection with the kids."
Although Wisconsin is well known for its strong dairy industry, Brooks will be busy promoting Wisconsin's $59 billion agricultural industry as a whole.
"I have a lot of dairy background and Wisconsin is a dairy state, but there is so much more to Wisconsin's ag industry," Brooks said. "I get to be the teacher and the student this year. I am excited to learn about all the other industries Wisconsin has to offer."
Brooks will be putting on close to 40,000 miles this coming year traveling to all of her events in a Chevy Tahoe fueled by ethanol produced in Wisconsin.
"It is going to be a whirlwind year," Brooks said. "It's also going to be an amazing one."
Her journey to Alice in Dairyland was a rigorous five-month procedure beginning with filling out an application in January.
From there, applicants were selected for interviews and in March, six finalists were named. On May 15 through May 17, the contestants participated in a three-day selection process including personal, radio and TV interviews; tours and interaction with a selection panel.
Brooks competed for the 67th Alice in Dairyland with Allyson Binversie of Manitowoc, Wis.; Katie Dogs of Watertown, Wis.; Kristin Klossner of New Glarus, Wis.; Melissa Ploeckelman of Stetsonville, Wis.; and Whitney Rathke of Fredonia, Wis.
"Going into this, I was excited, nervous and anxious," Brooks said. "But I was proud to put it all out there and give it my all."
With her year as Alice just beginning, Brooks has numerous aspirations.
"I want to shed a positive light on agriculture and be proactive in getting positive messages about the industry to our consumers," Brooks said. "I also want to promote women's role in production agriculture."
The opportunity to serve as Alice in Dairyland is something Brooks will treasure in years to come.
"It is an honor and privilege to serve as Alice in Dairyland and share Wisconsin's agriculture story," Brooks said. "It is so gratifying to be able to live out my passion of promoting agriculture."[[In-content Ad]]
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