As the new year has come, we look back at what the last year brought, and we look ahead to what the new year will bring us.
Maybe looking ahead to the upcoming year leads to setting New Year’s resolutions, creating goals or making plans throughout the upcoming year. For me, the new year is a time to clear my head, reset and have a fresh perspective before the year swiftly gets underway.
Each new year brings us new things, new opportunities and new memories to be made. In the month of December, I had a few fun opportunities. I joined the community of Montgomery, Minnesota, for its annual Torchlight Holiday Parade and Fireworks. The night was filled with lots of good conversations about my journey as Princess Kay and how dairy is included in community member’s holiday traditions.
Next, I joined Bremer Farms for its Santa on the Farm event. Each year the Bremer family puts on a pretty incredible light display on the farm with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the cows. As families drove through the light display, they were greeted by a friendly elf and then moved on to meet me and two calves from the farm, Harlen and Hannah. Visitors were so excited to hear about the calves, learn about dairy farming, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, and enjoy milk and cookies. There was even a bus of children driven by their grandma who came through to see the lights. It was a perfect evening filled with lots of smiling faces.
In the last couple of weeks doing chores on the farm in the bitter cold and the wind, it reminded me of the cold, snowy winter nights when I was younger. My brothers and I would bundle up really well after school for evening chores. We would hurry to get our chores done so we could spend the rest of the night playing in the snow. Dad would move the snow from the driveway and pile it up beside the barn. The snow pile was the perfect spot to play, as the yard light lit the area around it. By the end of chores, that pile would be flattened from all the climbing up and sliding down by us kids and the dogs. We would come inside with all of our winter clothes soaked and lay them out to dry so we could do it again the next day.
Even with the new year, some things stay the same. Our work as dairy farmers goes on every day as our goals in maintaining exceptional care continue. We are constantly making improvements, both small and large, to keep moving for a brighter future. On top of making improvements, there are the daily chores that need to be done: milking, feeding, bedding and more. Each year brings hardships, but each roadblock we face makes us better and helps us grow. As we settle into the new year, we need to make sure we don’t overlook what is happening in our lives. Life gets busy, things happen, and through all of it, we need to take time for the simple and small things in life.
Whether you’re making a resolution or not, dairy can accompany everyone into every new year. Dairy foods provide people with wholesome and nutritious products that fit perfectly into everyone’s lifestyle. The benefits of dairy’s 13 essential nutrients help complete a balanced diet for all ages. We can all jump into 2023 by adding more real dairy goodness to our diets. This past year has flown by and brought so many amazing opportunities, but it is now time to look to 2023 and see what the upcoming year has in store.
I am so excited to see where this year brings me as I continue my journey as the 69th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. There is so much to look forward to.
Wishing you all a very safe and healthy new year. May 2023 be a prosperous year with good weather, happy cows and plenty of joy and laughter.

Princess Kay of the Milky Way Rachel Rynda serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Rynda grew up in Montgomery, Minnesota, on her family’s dairy farm. She attends University of Wisconsin-River Falls, studying agriculture business with a minor in dairy science, with plans to assist farmers with their finances. She enjoys participating in sports and singing in church with her dad.
Princess Kay is active doing school visits, representing dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 activities in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings and sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods at appearances across Minnesota.