Maggie Meyer (center) stands with her parents, Greg and Patti, on their family’s dairy farm near Grove City, Minnesota. Maggie is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in dairy science.
Maggie Meyer (center) stands with her parents, Greg and Patti, on their family’s dairy farm near Grove City, Minnesota. Maggie is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in dairy science. PHOTO SUBMITTED
    GROVE CITY, Minn. – Dairy farming and family are the two most important facets of Maggie Meyer’s life. It was just as well that she was with her parents when she found out she would be a finalist in the Princess Kay competition in August.
    “It was really different because it is not a typical year,” Meyer said of the announcement. “But it was nice to be with my parents. It was a good moment to share with them.”
    Meyer, 20, is a 2020 Meeker County Dairy Princess and finalist for Princess Kay of the Milky Way. She helps on her family’s dairy farm near Grove City where they milk 85 Holsteins and raise 110 acres of corn and alfalfa. Meyer’s brother, Nate, works in partnership with their parents, Greg and Patti.
    This summer, Meyer is completing an internship at nearby First District Association where she is working in the milk quality assurance lab. This fall, she will enter her third and final year at University of Wisconsin-River Falls majoring in dairy science.
    Reaching the point of competing for the Princess Kay title is something Meyer has been preparing for. She started with her county’s dairy ambassador program after seventh grade, and this will be her third year as a county dairy princess.
    “I really wanted to get more experience and grow as a person before I competed for Princess Kay,” Meyer said.
    Meyer remembers watching the Princess Kay coronation since she began representing dairy farmers as an ambassador.
    “I’ve been watching amazing women represent Minnesota’s dairy farmers, and I think it would be an honor to be included with the rest of those women,” Meyer said.
    Meyer credits her family for helping her get to this point. With three older brothers, Meyer has witnessed her family’s dedication to a livelihood that has given them all attributes of a hard worker.
    “Dairy has really given me everything I have including work ethic and responsibility,” Meyer said. “I know to work for what I want.”
    Dairy has also taught Meyer to appreciate her family.
    Two brothers chose careers off the farm but continue to help with chores and fieldwork as needed.
    “It’s truly a family practice,” Meyer said.
    When it came time to build an addition to the family’s tiestall barn to accommodate Nate’s return to the farm, every family member pitched in to help.
    “My brother wanted to come back to the farm full time,” Meyer said. “With my other two brothers in construction, we were able to work together and build the addition ourselves.”
    The farm is a strong focus for the Meyer family, which is why being a representative for the dairy industry is so important to Meyer.
    “I see my family work so hard for what they have, and a lot of people don’t realize how much it takes to be a dairy farmer,” Meyer said. “I am happy to be able to share my family’s story and to be able to convey our message that dairy is good and safe.”
    Knowing that people may not be getting reliable information about dairy farming practices from the internet is also something Meyer strives to correct.
    “I think there is a lot of bad coverage of dairy on the internet,” Meyer said. “The main point I’d like to get across to people is to talk to a dairy farmer before going to Google to find an answer.”
    Connecting with consumers has been a challenge this summer with all county events canceled. Meyer is now directing her efforts to connecting with consumers over social media. Her preferred avenue of communication is face to face, but Meyer said she is honing her communication skills via social media channels.
    This June marks the third year of the Meyer family’s calf naming contest. Meyer is taking name suggestions on her personal Facebook page for a Red and White Holstein calf born June 1 on her family’s farm. At the end of the month, the Meyer family will decide a name from the suggestions provided. The person who suggested the name will win a prize consisting of ice cream, cheese and milk.
    “She is such a pretty calf,” Meyer said. “We have managed to have a Red and White Holstein calf born every June, and it ends up being a fun contest.”  
    In August, Meyer will compete with nine finalists for the title of 67th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. The competition will be different from its typical format because of social distancing practices, but Meyer remains positive.
    “It’s definitely going to be a different year,” Meyer said. “Midwest Dairy is working so hard to make sure we have a unique experience that is still really great.”
    Meyer is appreciative for the opportunity to reach out to the community as well as possibly earning the Princess Kay title.
    “It would be amazing to be Princess Kay,” Meyer said. “It would give me the opportunity to represent all of Minnesota’s dairy farmers and be their voice to the consumers and the public.”