Princess Kay Finalists

Learning is part of the job

Lickfelt advocates while seeking out educational avenues

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    HUTCHINSON, Minn. – Growing up in rural McLeod County gave ample opportunity for young Kiley Lickfelt to be involved in the dairy community. Often, she would look forward to spending her days at her uncle’s farm which was just down the road.
    “I loved going to my uncle’s farm to work with Grandma,” Lickfelt said. “Even though I didn’t live there, it was my second home and the place where my passion for dairy really started.”
    Lickfelt is the daughter of Trudy Graves and Ryan Lickfelt. She will be vying for the title of 69th Princess Kay of the Milky Way in August.
    She grew up immersed in the dairy industry, from spending days at her uncle’s farm to participating in 4-H and FFA while in school. Now she spends her time raising dairy heifers, helping at a neighboring farm and advocating for the industry.
    “I’ve had so many experiences; all of different avenues working in the dairy community,” Lickfelt said.
    Lickfelt is attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for agribusiness with a minor in dairy science.
    One of her favorite things to do is research topics related to dairy. She learned how to develop her own rations for her show cattle, which has helped expand her understanding of how diet and comfort affect success in the barn and show ring. Lickfelt said she is proud of the knowledge she has gained while raising her heifers.
    There is nothing that can pull Lickfelt from her love for agriculture. Even the challenges of being a public figurehead do not slow her desire to represent farms across the state.
    Recently, while in sash and crown, Lickfelt was approached by a consumer who spoke strongly of consuming raw milk. She realized how little she knew of that particular topic because of its non-traditional use in the industry, so she sought out information.
    “When the woman came up, she tried to argue with us, but we were trying to explain how glad we were that she was at least consuming dairy,” Lickfelt said. “It was definitely a difficult experience to navigate. So, … I went searching for information because I was curious if it was a more common practice than I thought.”
    Lickfelt’s many years as a McLeod County dairy royalty have conditioned her for such interactions. She remembers a time when she was far too shy and afraid to seek out conversations with consumers and credits the program for pushing her out of her comfort zone. She now looks forward to events where she can converse with consumers.
    Lickfelt said her favorite events involve children. The younger demographic is impressionable, she said, which makes them the perfect people to bring valuable information and experiences to their homes.
    “I love watching the light bulb go off in their heads,” Lickfelt said. “You can always tell when they understand what we are talking about.”
    Growing up around dairy, Lickfelt realized how little others understood about life on the farm. Using the dairy royalty program as a direct door to consumers, she is available for people who want to learn more.
    Lickfelt said farmers often do not have the time to attend community events to promote dairy, which is where dairy royalty across the state come into play.
    Each of the county princesses and ambassadors play an important role in sharing the dairy story. Lickfelt is excited to serve alongside the other nine finalists this year. She said they all have differing stories to share but have the same goal: to inform consumers about the wholesome, pure and local products derived from farms.
    For Lickfelt, nothing beats the effectiveness of one-on-one conversation. Lickfelt said she looks forward to sharing the knowledge she is gaining in college with others by getting a job in the agricultural industry that works with farmers and consumers.
    “Dairy is one of the purest options on the supermarket shelf,” she said. “I want my time as a dairy princess and young professional to reflect the pure goodness that comes from a glass of milk or cup of yogurt and the work that went into making it.”

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