I started January with several classroom visits. While each visit was different, all of the kids were excited to listen to what I had to say. The energy and enthusiasm kids have always amazes me. My first visit was to preschoolers in St. Peter, Minn. Here, the preschoolers enjoyed seeing pictures from my farm, listening to cow stories and enjoying cheese sticks.
    Next, I visited Mount Olive Lutheran School in Mankato, Minn. I had a chance to talk to kids ranging in age from kindergarten to fourth grade. Before my visit, each of the kids had voted on their favorite dairy food. They even had a map at the school featuring where each of the dairy processing plants were located. This was a great tie in to talk about how milk and other dairy foods are local. This group also enjoyed a virtual tour of my farm that focused on how we care for our cows.
    The following week, I visited the elementary school in Orono, Minn. Earlier in the school year, the students had participated in a challenge to see which grade could drink more milk with their lunches. In order to help celebrate this, I visited students during their lunch time. It was fun to mingle with the kids, answer their questions about dairy and hand out dairy-themed stickers and other prizes. I had some great conversations and watched many kids finish their cartons of milk.
    My last classroom visit was to Immanuel Lutheran School in Courtland, Minn. Here, I tested the fifth through sixth graders’ dairy knowledge with a dairy jeopardy game. I also had the chance to visit the preschool through fourth grade classrooms. No matter the age range of the students, they had great questions for me. Classroom visits are a wonderful opportunity to interact with the next generation of dairy supporters.
    Later in the month, I attended the Nicollet and Brown County ADA meeting and dairy princess banquet. I enjoyed hearing about the work the Nicollet and Brown County ADAs put into promoting dairy throughout the year. For instance, they both helped fund a realistic dairy exhibit at the Children’s Museum in Mankato. I attended the grand opening of this exhibit in October. I also took this chance to share what I have been up to over the past several months, and thank the Nicollet and Brown county dairy farmers for their support.
    As I finish up January and start off February, I attended two Fuel Up to Play 60 events that took place because of the Super Bowl. In addition to this, my family and I worked in the Midwest Dairy Super Bowl Experience booth.
    Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Emily Annexstad, 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. Emily and her family own and operate a dairy farm in St. Peter, Minnesota. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota studying animal science and agricultural communications and marketing. She enjoys reading, playing and watching sports, and showing cattle.