May 31, 2022 at 1:59 p.m.
Alice in Dairyland
We received an initial phone call and request for the candidates to visit our farm in February. Were we interested in hosting a visit in May? Oh, yes. We have had several women who were Alice in Dairyland at our farm for events. Having Alice in Dairyland as an ambassador at our farm was icing on the cake for these events. This would be such an honor for us to host these young ladies as one stop of many in Dane County.
We had continual communications with the planners to ensure all of the stops were organized. The candidates’ days would be full of opportunities to learn about many of the agricultural businesses that are throughout Dane County. The contestants were going to be groomed, trained and polished.
As the weeks went by and we started to hear about the candidates, the excitement grew. As the tour grew close, I was noticing more and more personal information about each candidate on social media.
All six women – Amber Cafferty, Amelia Hayden, Courtney Moser, Taylor Schaefer, Samantha Schuessler and Charitee Seebecker – are professionals starting their lives after college. Everyone is passionate about Wisconsin and the diversity throughout agriculture that touches every one of us through food, employment, fiber and fuel. Just as the current Alice in Dairyland, Julia Nunes, is a powerhouse of an ambassador, each one of these gals are equally strong and full of the skills it takes to lead the Alice program.
Throughout the morning of the tour, Anna and I were trying to notice little details, as there was a steady sprinkling of rain. We did a few last-minute things and got comfortable knowing the arrival was approaching fast. The huge black luxury coach pulled in right on time. As each one of the ladies and the organizers got out, everyone was smiling and full of energy and excitement. I gave an introduction about our farm and explained how we started hosting tours. Then, I concluded with information about our addition of Lely robots. Questions were asked, and I could feel that they were sincerely interested in what I said. Anna came, and they all sort of bonded. Was it their age? Was it that we are all women? Was it that agriculture runs through all of our veins? I think it was the love we have in our lives enriched by agriculture, and the passion was loud and clear in all of these candidates.
Our farm was the last of their tour stops that were conducted throughout Dane County, and afterward, the young ladies would be preparing for questions and making presentations for the following evening at the Monona Terrace when the finale would be the crowning of the 75th Alice and Dairyland.
As I sat reading the finale program at the Monona Terrace, surrounded by supporters, families, news media and past Alice’s, my eyes were opened to what a spectacular program the Alice in Dairyland is. From the very beginnings, following World War II, the program has transitioned into today’s age of instant communication with social media along with the traditional media with television interviews and written articles.
The evening rolled smoothly with introductions, awards, presentations and prepared speaking. There was laughter, applause and heart felt tears as the evening highlighted the two years Julia was the 73rd and 74th Alice of Dairyland because of the coronavirus pandemic. She was able to shine through all of the challenges that surrounded us. She has created a new high standard for the future Alice’s with her use of social media and creativity to promote everything Wisconsin. As the tissues were used to dry tears of love and thankfulness, it was time to announce the winner.
The audience all waited patiently in anticipation for the crowning of the 75th Alice in Dairyland. The announcement would be the start of a new life for Taylor Schaefer. She had her sash pinned on by Julia and was crowned.
The other five candidates have experienced a grand adventure also. Each one of these well-versed, professional women will have all of the ambassador skills that will impact their lives forever.
Tina Hinchley, and her husband, Duane, daughter Anna, milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin. The Hinchley’s have been hosting farm tour for over 25 years.