Happy National Dairy Month! For many of us, this is our favorite time of year. It is a time where people around the country bring attention to dairy and celebrate its goodness. As Princess Kay of the Milky Way, I am beyond excited to spend the month of June traveling our state to promote dairy at various events. I will be busy attending breakfasts on the farm, dairy days, daycare visits and more. To follow along with my journey, follow Minnesota Princess Kay on Instagram and Facebook.
    May brought a busy month and many miles traveled. I attended a wide variety of events that allowed me to interact with people of all ages. It was so good to be back out on the road and getting to interact with and meet people across the state.
    At the beginning of the month, I had the awesome opportunity to film a milk science experiment at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I worked alongside a past Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist to put together the video. Kids will be able to view the video and perform the experiment from home alongside their families. The video will be completed and ready to share in early June. Be on the lookout for it to be posted on Facebook.    
    My first in-person classroom visit was at New York Mills Elementary School. During my time there, I talked to eight classes of kindergarten and first grade students. We had so much fun talking about dairy farming and dairy foods. The students were very eager to ask questions and loved sharing what their favorite dairy food was. It was so great to see their excitement and curiosity.    
    I also made my first parade appearance in May. I was the grand marshal in the Twin Cities Auto Show parade. After the parade, I explored the show that took place on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. They also had a wide variety of food stands to enjoy. I found some of my favorite fair foods including cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s cookies with a glass of milk. I am sure you all have a favorite fair food you are missing right now.    
    Virtually, I joined the Fuel Up to Play 60 Virtual Field Day put on by Midwest Dairy and the Minnesota Vikings. During the event, I talked to classrooms about dairy nutrition including what cows eat, how farmers grow crops, and why dairy is important in our diets. Additionally, we played a nutrition game to sort cow feed ingredients and MyPlate items. We were even joined by Minnesota Vikings player Stephen Weatherly. During this event, I talked to 621 students from 27 classrooms. It amazes me how many people I can connect with at one time.    
    May is also an exciting month every year as the new finalists for Princess Kay of the Milky Way are announced. I enjoyed attending the in-person judging this year and getting to meet the amazing dairy princesses from across our state. A special congratulations to the newly selected 10 finalists. I cannot wait to watch your journey, and I encourage you to enjoy every moment and seize every opportunity that comes with it.    
    To wrap up the month, I attended another classroom visit in Spring Valley and traveled to Mora for Kindergarten Day on the Farm. On social media, I also began sharing the “Dairy Takes a Team” spotlight to show the incredible team it takes to get milk from the farm to the table. All of the excitement in the past few weeks has me eager for what is in store for the remainder of the summer.
    As we enter June, it is important to show people just how much dairy means to us and why they should choose to incorporate dairy into their diets each and every day. I encourage you to share your dairy story with everyone around you this month. Whether you are hosting people at your farm, sharing your favorite recipes, posting pictures of your favorite dairy foods or life on the farm, or engaging in conversations with consumers, we all have an important role in advocating for dairy all month long. We know advocating is important year-round, but June brings special attention to our dairy stories and our favorite dairy foods. Encourage those around you to grab an extra gallon of milk, add cheese to their next meal, and eat an extra scoop of ice cream to support dairy.
    If you have a community event, dairy day, festival, parade, county fair, or more that you would like Princess Kay of the Milky Way to attend, please fill out a request form. This can be found at https://www.midwestdairy.com/sustainability/farm-life/request-a-visit-by-a-dairy-princess/. I look forward to seeing you at events around the state all summer long.
    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.
    Brenna 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 Communication and Marketing. When she is not showing cattle or participating in dairy judging, she loves to read and travel.