Julia Nunes: A Farm Girl’s Story

Days before starting first grade, my family moved to Wisconsin and purchased a small farm in Chippewa Falls. Although all three of my sisters and I had many interests, our lives revolved around the farm and the work that had to be done there every day. Feeding calves,[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect"></v:path> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t"></o:lock> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="_x0000_s1028" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="Julia &amp; Hyacinth at fair 2005.jpg" style='position:absolute;margin-left:258.7pt;margin-top:17.3pt;width:208.8pt; height:156.1pt;z-index:251660288;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square; mso-wrap-distance-left:7pt;mso-wrap-distance-top:7pt; mso-wrap-distance-right:7pt;mso-wrap-distance-bottom:7pt; mso-position-horizontal:absolute;mso-position-horizontal-relative:margin; mso-position-vertical:absolute;mso-position-vertical-relative:line' wrapcoords="-5 0 21595 0 21595 21600 -5 21600 -5 0" strokeweight="1pt"> <v:stroke miterlimit="4"></v:stroke> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:/Users/martiam/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.jpg" o:title="Julia &amp; Hyacinth at fair 2005"></v:imagedata> <w:wrap type="through" anchorx="margin" anchory="line"></w:wrap> </v:shape><![endif][if !vml][endif] shaking straw to bed the cows, and sweeping up feed were some of my tasks.

My first Holstein calf was named Hyacinth, and I remember being so excited to be old enough to join 4-H and to show her at the county fair. Hyacinth didn’t lead well at the fair and knocked over all the flower pots in the show ring… maybe that’s why they don’t put flower pots in the ring anymore?

After school and on weekends, I helped with chores on the farm and occasionally milked the cows with my sisters. When chores were finished, and the weather was nice, my sisters and I would practice showmanship and my Dad would be the ‘judge’.[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="officeArt_x0020_object" o:spid="_x0000_s1027" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="2007Oct Girls with Jill at Expo, cropped.jpg" style='position:absolute;margin-left:-.5pt;margin-top:15.5pt;width:208.8pt; height:154pt;z-index:251659264;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square; mso-wrap-distance-left:10pt;mso-wrap-distance-top:10pt; mso-wrap-distance-right:10pt;mso-wrap-distance-bottom:10pt; mso-position-horizontal:absolute;mso-position-horizontal-relative:margin; mso-position-vertical:absolute;mso-position-vertical-relative:line' wrapcoords="0 0 21600 0 21600 21593 0 21593 0 0" strokeweight="1pt"> <v:stroke miterlimit="4"></v:stroke> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:/Users/martiam/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.jpg" o:title="2007Oct Girls with Jill at Expo, cropped"></v:imagedata> <w:wrap type="through" anchorx="margin" anchory="line"></w:wrap> </v:shape><![endif][if !vml][endif]

After turning 12, I was finally eligible to bring my calf to the Wisconsin State Fair for the first time ever. It was so much fun and I loved meeting new people from other counties around the state. I’d never eaten so much corn on the cob in one week!

When Chippewa County hosted the 60th Alice in Dairyland competition, my sisters and I were able to meet all the candidates. The event ignited a spark in me, and I hoped that someday I might have the opportunity to be Alice.

Time off the farm was either spent playing sports or performing. During my senior year of high school, I enjoyed being involved in multiple music groups: show choir, a cover band, vocal jazz[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="_x0000_s1026" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="Julia RHC Cheese.jpg" style='position:absolute; margin-left:291.1pt;margin-top:14.5pt;width:176.4pt;height:220.5pt;z-index:251661312; visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square;mso-wrap-distance-left:10pt; mso-wrap-distance-top:10pt;mso-wrap-distance-right:10pt; mso-wrap-distance-bottom:10pt;mso-position-horizontal:absolute; mso-position-horizontal-relative:margin;mso-position-vertical:absolute; mso-position-vertical-relative:line' wrapcoords="-6 -5 21594 -5 21594 21595 -6 21595 -6 -5" strokeweight="1pt"> <v:stroke miterlimit="4"></v:stroke> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:/Users/martiam/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image005.jpg" o:title="Julia RHC Cheese"></v:imagedata> <w:wrap type="through" anchorx="margin" anchory="line"></w:wrap> </v:shape><![endif][if !vml][endif] choir, and a barbershop quartet! I also served as the president of my 4-H club and loved to see younger members get excited about their projects.

I went on to study agriculture at the University of Minnesota, where I joined the Gopher Dairy Club and Lambda Delta Phi Sorority and created lasting friendships. My internship at Redhead Creamery in Brooten, Minnesota, gave me a new appreciation for food production and I saw the work ethic and passion that goes into cheesemaking.

After graduating in 2019, I accepted a position at a Wisconsin hemp farm. I still love cheese and music and am (not so) patiently awaiting the day I can get myself a puppy. I am so excited for the opportunity to be Alice in Dairyland, promoting everything from award-winning cheeses to unique crops like cranberries, ginseng, mink pelts, dry whey, and so much many more high-quality Wisconsin products for consumers around the world.

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Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Contact Alice in Dairyland

2811 Agriculture Drive

P.O. Box 8911

Madison, WI 53708-8911

(608) 516-5072