Honored, excited, humbled – a few words to describe how I feel to be selected as the 67th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
    The thought of becoming Princess Kay has always been a dream of mine. As a young girl, I always wanted to be a princess. Little did I know, I would get to fulfill my dream and so much more. The opportunity to be in this role is humbling, and I cannot wait to begin my year.
    I am forever thankful for the people who have supported me on this journey. Without this support, I would not be in the role today. I am also grateful for the dairy community that has made this opportunity possible. The Minnesota dairy farmers I represent are kind, driven, passionate and innovative. As Princess Kay of the Milky Way, I hope to share my story and the story of dairy farmers, so people feel better connected to us. I am ready to share my love and passion for the values, people and foods I represent.
    My goal for this year is to create a better understanding between farmers and consumers. In this role, I get to share with others the dedication and perseverance of dairy farmers. We know not everything is easy, and challenging times do arise. However, as dairy farmers, we are persistent and know we are truly doing what we love. As a dairy community, we are always looking for ways to improve our farming practices and become more sustainable. Providing our cows with exceptional care and nutrition is a value at the top of everyone’s list. I want to share our stories with others so they can see this dedication and passion.
    I am here to tell the story of the people who rise before the sun to begin the day and work hours past sunset to get the job done. All of the hours are worth it when you are able to bring a new, strong, healthy calf into the world or celebrate the end of a great harvest season. All of this is because of the love and passion farmers have for their way of life, and that is what I truly want to highlight this year.
    Although this year may look different in many ways, I am so excited to travel our great state and meet people. We may not have the ability to do events that were possible in years past, but this year brings forth a unique opportunity. In this changing time, more and more people are relying on technology to receive information and connect with others. My goal is to connect with people through online platforms to share my dairy story while showing them the real greatness of the dairy foods we know and love.
    If I was able to travel to every farm in the state of Minnesota and meet the hard-working people who make the dairy community possible, I would. Instead, I plan to take to social media and highlight farms across the state to show people the diversity of our farms, large and small. Additionally, I want to take the time to connect with students of all ages. From reading stories to young children over Zoom meetings to presenting to high school students about the importance of refueling our bodies, I am excited to connect with and meet others whenever possible.
    My favorite part about delicious dairy foods is how much real enjoyment they can bring. As Princess Kay of the Milky Way, I hope to help consumers see how they can incorporate dairy into their everyday lives. I am here to show active students that cheese sticks and yogurt make great, affordable snacks they can take with them on the go. I can also help the people who love to be in the kitchen discover that dairy is the key ingredient in their fresh-baked cookies and homemade dishes.
    This year is going to be a time of laughter, memory making and good conversations. The opportunity to live out my dream is something I will cherish forever. In every place I visit and every conversation I have, I am dedicated to sharing my love for dairy. Thank you again for this opportunity to represent the community that has already given me so much.
    Princess Kay of the Milky Way Brenna Connelly serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Throughout the year, Princess Kay helps people understand the dedication of dairy farmers to wholesome and nutritious food, and the way milk is produced. Princess Kay does many school presentations, represents dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 events that are held in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings, and is very active during June Dairy Month sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods. Connelly grew up in Byron, Minnesota working on her cousin’s dairy farm. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, studying agricultural education and animal science. When she is not showing cattle or participating in dairy judging, she loves to read and travel.