Greetings! I am Tess Zettle, and it is a dream come true to represent five generations of agriculture as a Top Candidate for the 72nd Alice in Dairyland.
Being outside enjoying the fresh air, watching and playing with baby calves, or going for a tractor ride with my grandpa is where you could find me as a kid, and because of that, I consider myself lucky. I loved following my dad around the farm taking in all that I could learn. I was the little girl that had my crazy curls pulled back into a pony tail, loved slipping on my barn boots and always had a smile on my face as I serenaded to the cows.
Being on the farm is where I learned how to work hard and to appreciate it. Early on, I was responsible for feeding calves, playing with kittens and scraping off the barn walk once milking was done. As my responsibilities evolved and I continued to grow on the farm, so did my passion for this industry.
With that passion, a new responsibility and desire emerged – a desire to share my story. I headed to the University of Wisconsin – Platteville to learn how to tell my story better. I knew I wanted to learn more about animal science, but also to expand my knowledge in public relations so that I knew the best way to tell my story and my experiences.
I love learning about the diversity in Wisconsin’s $88 billion agriculture community. I have had the opportunity to collect maple sap and transform it into maple syrup. I have seen firsthand how cranberries are harvested from the bogs where they grow. I have also witnessed the latest technology in cheesemaking that helps with processing efficiencies. All of these hands-on experiences make me feel incredibly lucky to have Wisconsin’s agriculture surrounding me every day; to hear, see, smell, touch and most importantly, taste.
As the old saying goes, some things never change. I am still the curly-haired girl who slips on her barn boots and smiles as she sings to her cows. I still continue to help my family on the farm daily. Still to this day, working on my family’s dairy farm, learning and growing in Wisconsin agriculture are what make my heart happiest. To know our Wisconsin backgrounds are linked to farms and rural communities that contribute to the states strong heritage, current economic impact and bright future make me so appreciative to come from an agricultural family.