Justin Huff
Justin Huff

Kate Czarny

Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

 

School, major: I will be a senior at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale majoring in animal science 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is my passion for the dairy industry and my belief that consumers should be educated on where their food comes from and the industry they rely on every day. I love being able to educate others while sharing my love for dairy. 


What event are you most looking forward to as an ambassador and why? I am most looking forward to the Illinois State Fair. I’m very excited to be back in person on the fairgrounds and I think it will be awesome to be involved in the state fair as an ambassador. 

Justin Huff

Dix, Illinois

 

School, major: I will be a senior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in animal science with a concentration in pre-veterinary medicine.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I believe in the importance of engaging with consumers about the dairy industry and sharing my dairy experiences. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? I had the privilege to attend the Marcoot Jersey Creamery Cheese Festival. It was a very good event and a fun way to engage with consumers. I helped with the trivia table, and we asked questions to individuals about the dairy industry. The event was a great opportunity to share my passion for the industry. 

Olivia Ruffner

Bowling Green, Ohio

School, major: I will be a sophomore at Iowa State University majoring in  dairy science. 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me because I love promoting the dairy industry and as an ambassador I have many opportunities to do that. Also, because I’m from out-of-state, the ambassadorship allows me to meet new people and make connections in the industry. 


What event are you most looking forward to most as an ambassador and why? I am most looking forward to working at the Iowa State Fair. I am especially excited for this event because I have never attended this state fair but have heard great things about it!

Briley Lenkaitis

Eldorado, Illinois

School, major: I will be a senior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in ag and consumer economics, ag business markets and managements.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I grew up in the dairy industry and I would not be where I am today without it. I want to show people who do not have a dairy background how important this industry is and how much farmers truly care for their animals.


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? I enjoyed playing trivia with kids at the Marcoot Jersey Creamery Cheese Fest in Greenville, Illinois. Fellow ambassador Justin Huff and I let kids spin a wheel and they were asked a dairy question based on what they landed on. Kids were rewarded with dairy-themed prizes. I loved seeing kids answer questions and getting surprised by some of the answers. I also enjoyed the event overall. The Marcoots did a great job getting the public involved with dairy and promoting cheese and other dairy products.

Megan Kueker

West Union, Iowa

 

School, major: I will be a junior this fall. I just completed my associate of science in agriculture education at Northeast Iowa Community College and will transfer to Iowa State University, majoring in agriculture communications with a minor in animal science.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? When I heard about the ambassador program it seemed really interesting and fun to me, while also being a good resume builder. It would allow me to share my love of the industry with others. I find that by being an ambassador it allows me to help spread the dairy story to consumers while also advocating for producers.


What event are you most looking forward to as an ambassador and why? Currently, I think the event that I am looking forward to is Breakfast on the Farm. It is an event held at our local community college (NICC) that allows for people to tour an actual dairy while interacting with a variety of people who all are somehow involved in the dairy industry. As an ambassador it gives a chance to utilize our platform to interact with the consumers and share our knowledge of the industry. It is a family friendly event so people of all ages are welcome to attend!

 

Jessica Schmitt

Fort Atkinson, Iowa

 

School, major: I will be a senior at Iowa State University and I am triple majoring in dairy science, international agriculture, and agricultural communications.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador means that I get the opportunity to represent my family’s livelihood and that of many hard working people. I found a love for speaking with consumers and sharing the truth of dairy farming. It is important that they hear the correct story straight from the dairy community opposed to somewhere else. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? My favorite event so far was Animal Learning Day hosted by Iowa State Block & Bridle this spring. Community members around the Ames area gathered to learn more about animal agriculture. I worked alongside the Dairy Science Club’s booth teaching kids how to hand milk a cow. I also discussed animal nutrition, calf care and the importance of drinking milk.

 

Ashley Hagenow

Poynette, Wisconsin

 

School, major: I will be a junior at University of Minnesota majoring in agricultural communication and marketing. 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Serving as a dairy ambassador is important to me because while consumers are very satisfied with the nutritional value and quality of the dairy products they consume, I have learned through attending numerous webinars on consumer trends and interactions with consumers that there is a lack of trust in the dairy industry through being unaware of the on-farm practices of producing a dairy product from the cow to the grocery store and eventually to someone’s fridge or dinner table. With that in mind, my goal for the upcoming year is to connect with at least 10 consumers with no prior ties to agriculture as a way to share on-farm practices of dairy production and how milk is sustainably and ethically produced, all while sharing more about my favorite dairy products and their impact on our nutrition and well-being! I am achieving this goal through social media and in-person events, and I love any opportunity to advocate for the dairy industry and drive demand for dairy products that farmers have dedicated their lives’ work to producing. 


What event are you most looking forward to as an ambassador and why? I am most looking forward to the Minnesota State Fair this year as a chance to connect with the largest audience that our ambassador team will come before to share stories about the dairy industry and its people. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we crave human connection, so I am excited to once again have authentic conversations in-person with the fair’s attendees while sharing my story and the stories of others in the dairy industry. The “Great Minnesota Get Together” is the perfect opportunity to share key messages from organizations such as Midwest Dairy with consumers, and I am ready to consume a great deal of cheese and ice cream in the process!

 

Madison Krueger

Arlington, Minnesota

 

School, major: I will be a senior at University of Wisconsin-River Falls studying dairy science.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I think it is important to educate the public and debunk the myths they may have about the dairy industry. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? My event would have to be when I went to a small school in my area and did a presentation on from calf to cow. I took them on a journey from a newborn baby calf on my farm all the way to when it gives birth to its own calf.

 

Rachel Nelson

Osceola, Wisconsin

 

School, major: I will be a junior at University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in agricultural education and minoring in animal science.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Having the role of a dairy ambassador, especially being a Minnesota ambassador means more than what words can possibly say. It is important to me in multiple aspects, the most important is being a listener to and supporter for agricultural producers. Having grandparents who own a small farm in southern Minnesota has taught me that by listening to what producers have to say, what stories they have to tell and the history that producers have in agriculture shows that producing for America, is truly what they live for. Being able to say that I am an ambassador and advocate for dairy industries, the industry that supports me daily, is something that I am very proud of. 


What event are you most looking forward to most as an ambassador and why? I am ecstatic to make an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. Over 2 million people attended the State Fair in 2019, missing the 2020 State Fair no one can truly say how big the crowds will be in 2021. I want to say to people in attendance that the goal of dairy farmers is to produce a nutritious and healthy product that everyone can enjoy. If I can share that dairy farmers care, I will feel accomplished in my role as an ambassador. Additionally, I am excited to meet others including advocates, producers, representatives, or ambassadors like me, to absorb more knowledge that they have supporting dairy. 

 

Emily Popp

Royalton, Minnesota

 

School, major: I will be a junior at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities majoring in agriculture communication and marketing with a minor in agriculture business.  


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me because it allows me to share dairy farmers’ stories to a variety of audiences in several different ways. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? I have really enjoyed the social media component while being a dairy ambassador. I started a page on instagram called The_Scoop_on_Dairy and posting on there was definitely not in my comfort zone however because it wasn’t something I was super familiar with. I have been able to grow the most from that experience.

 

Alison Smelter

Foley, Minnesota

 

School, major: I will be a senior at University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in dairy science with a pre-veterinary emphasis.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me because I grew up on my grandparents’ farm, which was dear to my heart. I felt like the cows really drove me to a future in agriculture, and being a dairy ambassador allows me to give back to those cows, farmers, and community that supported me growing up. I also love being able to not only learn from others but also teach others and share our passion of dairy together.


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? The most fulfilling event I have attended this year was Brickton Genetics’ Food Trucks on the Farm event. I worked  with the Isanti County Dairy Princess and the 67th Princess Kay of the Milky Way to talk to many parents, children, and the public all day. We set up a sensory station where children touched different food items that cows and calves eat, such as grain, silage, calf starter, and calf milk replacer. Then visitors moved down the line to where Princess Kay and the Isanti County Dairy Princess handed out coloring books, cow hats, stickers, and other goodies. I enjoyed this event because it was nice to see how a smaller, three generation dairy like Brickton can shine a light on family farming. I also enjoyed seeing the kids’ faces light up with excitement.

 

Sydney Kleingartner

Gackle, North Dakota

 

School, major: I am attending Bismarck State College for farm and ranch managment. I will be attending my final year.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I love to promote the dairy industry and show my passion for the industry.


What event are you most looking forward to as an ambassador and why? I’m really looking forward to going to North Dakota State Fair to visit with other people within the dairy industry and sharing my passion for dairy with others.

 

Carmen Entzminger

Carrington, North Dakota

 

School, major: I will be a sophomore at Minnesota State University-Moorhead majoring in social work. 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me because I was raised on a dairy farm so I think it is important to inform consumers. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? Dr. Dawn’s Dairy Day was the most fulfilling event I attended because I was able to inform people about dairy. I gave virtual dairy tours and answered questions.

 

Tyler Gilliland

Wayne, Nebraska

 

School, major: I will be a junior at South Dakota State University majoring in dairy production. 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? It allows me to connect with dairy producers and get their stories out to consumers. 


What event are you most looking forward to most as an ambassador and why? The South Dakota State Fair because it will be fun to see the whole state come together in one spot and show not just their support of dairy, but agriculture as a whole. 

 

Johannah Nielsen

Tyler, Minnesota

 

School, major: I will be a senior at South Dakota State University, double majoring in animal science with a pre-veterinary emphasis and dairy production.

Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I have been involved in the dairy industry for almost my entire life, so it has long been a passion of mine to advocate for an industry that has done so much for me and holds a special place in my heart. I think it’s extremely important to share the story of the dairy industry, especially our reasons why we do what we do, to the consumers as well as potential consumers who may be skeptical about our products and industry. I also think it’s important that we as ambassadors be a link between dairy farmers and those outside of agriculture, especially where there is an age gap.

What event are you most looking forward to as an ambassador and why? I am looking forward to the days we have Breakfast on the Farm events and any other local events in the community that we attend. While I love advocating through social media, my favorite thing to do is talk directly with the public about the dairy industry. I always enjoy getting to share my dairy story while also listening to any concerns or questions they may have and then being able to share what I know or giving them resources to find more information. I also make sure to thank them for their support of the dairy industry because without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love while providing safe and nutritious dairy products.

 

Kerstin Thoms

Le Mars, Iowa

 

School, major: I will be a junior at South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural leadership, while minoring in agricultural marketing and social media. 


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? Being a dairy ambassador is important to me because the dairy industry has always been a part of my life, this is another way to advocate for the industry. Too many people are disconnected from agriculture, so I would like to help them get a better understanding through this role. 


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? The most fulfilling events have been all of the open houses I attended for June Dairy Month. I am normally around the kids handing out cow hats, coloring books, and stickers. Their faces light up because they know what a cow is, even the really young ones, but do not realize these goodies are a fun way for them to be able to learn more. I see many of the kids multiple times because after being around the farm they have questions to ask me. 

 

Morgan Kohl

Watertown, South Dakota

 

School, major: I will be a senior at South Dakota State University majoring in agronomy and animal science.


Why is being a dairy ambassador important to you? I want to serve as an advocate for the state’s dairy industry and help to promote the importance of dairy among the public, especially the youth.


What has been the most fulfilling promotion or event you have been a part of so far as an ambassador? The most fulfilling event I have been a part of was MoDak Dairy’s open house. At this event I was able to take part in giving farm tours and answer many questions from people of all ages who did not come from a dairy farm background. It was truly rewarding to see their interest and excitement towards the dairy industry.