Turning a New Page as the 75th Alice in Dairyland
Winnie the Pooh said “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” and that honey-loving bear couldn’t have been more spot-on. Each Alice in Dairyland is given 12 months to experience all that Wisconsin agriculture has to offer, and I have taken every opportunity I could to experience it all. The businesses, the commodities and most importantly, the people have made this a year unlike any other.
From day one, I was filled with gratitude for Wisconsin’s $104.8 billion agriculture community and all of the people and places that are impacted by it. It didn’t take long before I was whisked away to media visits, Farm Technology Days, county and state fairs, and industry tours, and the year hasn’t slowed down since.
Attending fairs throughout Wisconsin was a major highlight of my summer, and my first six months as the 75th Alice in Dairyland. With each visit, I was able to learn through the thousands of conversations I had with people of all backgrounds. I enjoyed sharing my story in agriculture while also learning more about the experiences that helped shape the stories of countless exhibitors, volunteers, and community members.
As the leaves began to change in the fall, so did my time as Alice. I visited many exciting events - some for the first time, and others that I have cherished for many years.
Although this year’s trip to Green County Cheese Days was my first, it certainly will not be my last. I spent the day tasting some of Wisconsin’s finest cheeses, celebrating Swiss Heritage, and learning more about the history of an amazing town in southern Wisconsin. I even had an opportunity to do a Limburger tasting live on TV, which is certainly a segment I will remember fondly for years to come.
Warrens Cranberry Festival was an event that surprised me, as the town of less than 1,000 welcomes more than 100,000 guests each fall to celebrate our state’s official fruit. It was a day I will never forget, filled with cranberry-themed foods, beautiful artwork, and an amazing community of people that I can’t wait to visit again this fall.
I finally was able to live out my childhood dream of being Alice at World Dairy Expo, where I spent many days during my tenure at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Instead of flipping sandwiches at the Badger Dairy Club grilled cheese stand like in years past, this year, I was able to enjoy them alongside some of the most forward-thinking minds in the dairy industry from around the world. I also walked across the colored shavings and delivered the Supreme Champion envelopes and was next to a lifelong friend as her prized cow was named the Supreme Champion of the Junior Show.
As snow began to fall and the days turned colder, I could not believe how fast time had gone. How was it already November? It was time to kick off my Something Special from Wisconsin holiday campaign and visit numerous radio and TV stations across the state to talk about a program that recognizes companies with at least half of their ingredients, production, or processing from Wisconsin. I learned more about their history, products, and stories, and shared that with thousands of viewers. I also visited as many of them as I could during my travels.
As the year turned to 2023, it was time to recruit the next Alice in Dairyland. When the application process began, I reflected on my time as Alice and shared some of my fondest memories through social media. The spring was filled with countless 4th and 5th grade school visits, industry tours, and attending events like the National Outstanding Young Farmer Convention, CheeseCon in Madison, and even traveling to Michigan for the Lipari Food Show.
It feels only fitting to end this whirlwind of a year with one of Wisconsin’s favorite months, June Dairy Month. This month will be filled with dairy breakfasts, special events, farewell speeches, and more. I know in just the blink of an eye I will be passing over the keys to my trusty vehicle, nicknamed “Kernel,” to the 76th Alice in Dairyland when she begins her term on July 5.
Whether we met in passing at the Wisconsin State Fair, you hosted me on your farm, or we connected virtually through social media - thank you to each and every person who has made this year one I will never forget.