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On the Road - March

As the weather begins to warm up, so does the Alice in Dairyland program! March began a busy time of year for us, with many exciting events, campaigns, and announcements. Read on to see some of the highlights from last month.

The Alice in Dairyland team started off the month in beautiful Door County for the announcement of the 77th Alice in Dairyland Top Candidates!

This year's Top Candidates are:

- Cierra Essock, Fox Lake, WI

- Halei Heinzel, Oconomowoc, WI

- Katrina Hoesly, Denmark, WI

- Michaela King, Big Bend, WI

- Kiley Pagel, Kewaunee, WI

- Lauren Siemers, Kiel, WI

Follow along on our social media channels throughout April to learn more about each candidate as we get closer to the 77th Alice in Dairyland finals, to be held May 4, 2024 in Door County. Learn more about the event and purchase your tickets at

Six candidates and Alice in Dairyland stand on outdoor balcony with blue skies
From L to R: Cierra Essock, Halei Heinzel, Katrina Hoesly, 76th Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow, Michaela King, Kiley Pagel, and Lauren Siemers

After the March 1 press briefing, the Top Candidates and I traveled to two local businesses in Door County: Door County Coffee and Door Peninsula Winery! Door County Coffee, a small, family-owned business, has been in business for 30 years, employing 65 people and producing more than 100 varieties of coffee. For 45 years, Door Peninsula Winery has been producing award-winning wine and ciders. They have more than 70 flavors, including cherry wine, to honor Door County’s famous cherries!

After returning from the press briefing, I jumped right into an exciting artisan cheese bracket to help determine which cheese type is Wisconsin’s favorite. The public voted on their favorites via social media, and we polled visitors while sampling cheese varieties at various HyVee locations. We started with eight delicious cheese types and by the end of the month, cheese curds was selected as the big winner! Alongside the bracket challenge, I visited media across the state, celebrating the WIAA tournament basketball season with ice cold chocolate milk, a great recovery drink after a tough game.

Business tours and group presentations are always such a fun part of my travels. I stopped by Something Special from Wisconsin member DnA Vintners while I was in La Crosse to learn more about their winery. Owners Diana and Arvid offer cranberry wines made with cranberries from Habelman Brothers Cranberries in west central Wisconsin. Some of their most popular and award-winning flavors include Frost Watch Orange, Chocolate Paradise, and CranRazzy. During my visit, I learned about a new flavor, called “Ope!” which is a blend of currant, cranberry raisin, and cherry wine.

A recent visit to Vines and Rushes Winery in Ripon helped me learn more about Wisconsin’s viticulture, or winegrowing, industry. Vines and Rushes, owned by Ryan Prellwitz and his family, produces five acres of grapes that are cold hardy for Wisconsin winters. The varieties of grapes grown include Marquette, St. Pepin, and Petite Pearl. The wine production process takes place at the winery, and Vines and Rushes sells their wine all over Wisconsin and the country! With a focus on supporting and supplying local, the winery also produces its own micro-greens and lettuce for pizza and salads using a hydroponic system.

The Agriculture Business and Marketing Society at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls hosted me for their meeting this month. I visited with students and shared more about my experiences in agricultural marketing, and how they have applied to my role as Alice in Dairyland. There were many great questions about how Alice in Dairyland impacts Wisconsin agriculture. On the other side of the state, I celebrated National Ag Day with Northcentral Technical College (NTC) at their Wisconsin Technical College System Ag Day Celebration! This event, hosted at the NTC Agriculture Center of Excellence, included hearing from industry experts on the state of agriculture and agriculture education in Wisconsin, student panelists sharing about their experiences at NTC, a tour of the Agriculture Center of Excellence, and learning from industry panelists about topics like technology in agriculture and consumer trends.

March is also the start of Maple Month here in Wisconsin, and I had several opportunities to celebrate the sweet stuff! I recently attended the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association (WMSPA) First Tree Tapping hosted by Glenna Farms in Amery, WI. Our dedicated maple syrup producers, combined with our climate, geography, and abundance of Sugar Maple trees, helps Wisconsin to rank fourth in the nation for maple syrup production! It was an honor to join the Glenna family, WMSPA members, and maple enthusiasts for the First Tree Tapping while sharing more about my experiences with Wisconsin’s maple syrup industry. Everything I learned there came in handy when I served as a judge in the maple syrup tasting contest at the Maple Syrup Family Day in Richfield!

I also joined in the celebration of STEM Week at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc. When it comes to opportunities in agriculture, there are over 300 different career pathways, all of which involve aspects of science, technology, engineering, or math. To highlight some of the food products that Wisconsin agriculture is known for, we completed a homemade butter making activity where attendees learned about the science of how to beat heavy whipping cream into butter.

One final highlight of the month was the Women's History Month feature I shared on social media, each celebrating the impact of the Alice in Dairyland program on women in agriculture and in the state of Wisconsin. Check back through my old posts on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to learn more.

Thank you for following along, showing your support, and cheering me on along the way! I hope to see you at the 77th Alice in Dairyland finals next month!


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