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"On the Road with Alice" - July

July was my first month as Alice in Dairyland and I'm already in awe over the diversity of Wisconsin’s agriculture!

My first official event was the Stoughton Fair where I enjoyed its livestock shows, community events, delicious food, and so much more! I connected with Mad Dog and Merrill to learn about their tasty BBQ, talk with WJVL radio, see the projects of youth exhibitors, and visit the animal barns as well.

I followed that up with Marquette County Fair and Lodi Agricultural Fair. Marquette County Fair has been celebrating agriculture for over 150 years and this year was no different with more than 250 exhibitors. I grew up exhibiting at the Lodi Agricultural Fair so it was a wonderful welcome home while I interacted with some of their 10,000 annual visitors. I was also able to witness their inaugural “A View from the Buddy Seat” activity where kids and their parents could hop in a combine or tractor to see what it’s like driving modern farm equipment. I wrapped up my first weekend as Alice with a stop at the Junior National Hereford Expo, the nation’s largest junior national show for purebred beef cattle. Wisconsin hosted junior exhibitors from 38 states and even Canada!

A few days later, I kept it local and visited The River Food Pantry in Madison. This organization has become South Central Wisconsin’s busiest food pantry, serving over 2,500 people each week with the help of over 2,300 volunteers. The River also helps to redistribute 2.9 million pounds of local rescued food while minimizing food waste.

I made a quick stop back in Walworth County with my old friends from the 76th Alice in Dairyland Finals Host Committee, where I presented them with a plaque and celebrated National Ice Cream Month together! Speaking of Ice Cream Month, I sure have celebrated! I’ve visited numerous ice cream shops throughout the state and am well on my way to surpassing the nation's average of 139 scoops per person, per year average! I was also able to share some highlights about all of this Wisconsin ice cream with local media channels this month!

Back to the county fair circuit, I was honored to serve as one of the Bundt Cake judges in the County Fair Pie Contest and State Bundt Contest in Lafayette County! So many amazing entries, it was hard to pick a winner! At the Sauk County Fair, I presented about the Alice in Dairyland program and visited the truck and tractor pulls. I had a “fair-tastic” time at the Jefferson County fair the following week, attending the Animal Auction and Youth Celebration, eating plenty of delicious food, and taking a ride on the Ferris wheel!

In addition to media and county fair stops, I visited Wegmueller Dairy Farm, a small, fourth-generation dairy farm in Monroe, Wisconsin with a beautiful herd of Brown Swiss dairy cattle, horses for trail riding, rolling acres of crop land, and a chance for visitors to stay right on the farm! The Wegmuellers are dedicated to offering interactive experiences on their farm to show exactly where our food comes from!

A highlight of the summer for many agriculturalists is the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, and the Alice in Dairyland program was excited to have a booth in the Rural Events Center. While I wasn’t putting tattoos on to kids or playing trivia in our booth, I had appearances on stage with Wisconsin royalty, interacted with attendees, rode on a ten-horse hitch, and met Governor Tony Evers!

The Fond du Lac County Holstein futurity brought back many fond memories as I had attended this event while growing up to see family and friends show their prized bovine beauties. Futurity events here and around the state help to promote the dairy community to the public while showcasing the hard work and dedication that go into showing livestock!

Waukesha, Dane, Rock, Taylor, and my home fair, Columbia County fairs all rounded out my last fair visits in July. No matter which part of Wisconsin I was in, the fairs were filled with wonderful exhibits, passionate youth, and so much fun!

My last full week of July sure was a busy one! My first event was a stop in Waupun for their Art in the Park event, where I read “Right This Very Minute,” which focuses on farm-to-table examples in agriculture and how farmers work hard to produce our food. I also spoke about the Alice in Dairyland program at Waukesha’s Memory Café and celebrated five years of Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center with a “What is Blue Moon?” activity to explore the flavor of blue moon ice cream!

July ended with a weekend I won’t soon forget. On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Dairy Cares of Wisconsin fundraiser event to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. Since 2010, the organization has surpassed $2 million raised for Children’s Hospitals across the state. This event highlights the agriculture industry's commitment to giving back and caring for people in their communities. On Sunday, I hopped on the ferry to Washington Island and toured a lavender farm! The fields of purple made for an amazing sight, but nothing can top the smell of fresh lavender that blanketed the area! My visit wasn’t limited to just lavender, but I also toured Henriksen Fisheries, a proud wholesaler of signature whitefish fillets and other healthy, sustainable, local, and fresh fish. Then I went to Jordan Farm, home to approximately 40 Shorthorn beef cattle. They also take their cattle across the country for livestock shows, starting with a trip over the ferry in their trailer. My final Door County stop was at Island Orchard Cider, which grows its apples and pears for cider on Washington Island, and after fall harvest, these fruits are made into over 17 varieties of cider and four varieties of vinegar.

My first month as Alice in Dairyland has already surpassed my expectations! I am so honored to represent our $104.8 billion agriculture industry and look forward to seeing and learning so much more!


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