Agriculture has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and that's why it is such a thrill to be serving as Wisconsin's 66th Alice in Dairyland. In this role as Wisconsin's Agricultural Ambassador, I will travel more than 40,000 miles throughout the state of Wisconsin in a year promoting the state's $59-billion dollar industry. I'll make over 400 appearances during the course of the year, speaking at events and meetings, visiting with TV and radio stations, and talking to more than 10,000 fourth grade students.
My love of Wisconsin agriculture is nothing new. I grew up showing registered cattle with my family's herd, Crestbrooke Holsteins and Jerseys, a few miles south of Fond du Lac, Wis. During my youth years, I was actively involved in organizations such as 4-H, FFA and the Wisconsin Holstein Association. I pursued a degree in life sciences communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I held numerous leadership roles in various College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) organizations and held several internships before graduating in 2010. Prior to beginning my adventure as Alice, I was the dairy advertising coordinator at Accelerated Genetics in Baraboo, Wis.
But the Alice in Dairyland program has inspired me throughout my life to share my passion with others in telling agriculture's story and I'm so excited to now be able to inspire others in my role as Alice. So far in my travels, I've experienced the enthusiasm and dedication of the young people involved in agriculture as I was. Meeting them at events such as dairy breakfasts, the Wisconsin State Fair or the state FFA convention, I get a sense the future of our industry is in good hands.
Getting young people excited about agriculture is an important part of being Alice in Dairyland. Recently, at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, I spent much of my time during the first two days with nearly 1,500 fourth grade students from the Madison area. I worked with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to help teach these fourth graders about Wisconsin's $26.5 billion dairy industry and the wonderful products it produces. We also taught students why it is so important to include at least three servings of dairy in their daily diets and talked about the nine essential nutrients found in milk - whether its chocolate, white or even strawberry.
World Dairy Expo brings back so many good memories for me. It has been a huge part of my life since I was a young girl, showing cattle with my family's Holsteins and Jerseys. I feel very blessed to have grown up in such a wonderful industry and to be part of such a premiere event each year. This year, I was able to experience World Dairy Expo in a whole different way, walking in the shoes of Alice and serving as the unofficial hostess for the 47th annual event.
I was in the show ring again this year but this time it was to join Governor Scott Walker and Secretary Ben Brancel in honoring Ambition Hercules Jordan as the 2013 Wisconsin Cow of the Year. Each year at World Dairy Expo, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recognizes a Wisconsin cow as its Cow of the Year, with a seven-year rotation to give recognition to a different breed each year. This year happened to be a Jersey owned by the Orth family of Lancaster, Wis..
This year, World Dairy Expo truly lived up to its theme as being the Center of the Dairy Universe. This world-class five-day event attracts more than 70,000 guests from over 90 countries who view the finest in dairy cattle from North America and the newest technologies available to the dairy industry from around the globe. International guests are so important to World Dairy Expo and truly help the global dairy industry to thrive and make modern innovations and advancements.
Expo week was filled with wonderful people, beautiful cows and memories that will stay with me forever.
I'll have more on my Alice in Dairyland travels next month.
Remember, Wisconsin agriculture is yours today, tomorrow and always.