This month, we welcome Katie Anderson, the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess. She gives us a glimpse into the daily life of a Pa. dairy promoter.
Picture this: You work for a local dairy farm who milks their cows three times each day. The shift you were asked to cover is the third shift, 10 p.m. – midnight. It typically isn’t any problem, but tonight was different. The cows wouldn’t cooperate in the barn, three of the milking machines broke, and someone forgot to close a gate. You don’t get home until about 2 a.m., but you still need to set your alarm for 5 a.m. to get to your full-time job in the morning. The alarm sounds, and you hustle to get out the door and put in an eight hour day before rushing home to put on a dress for the dairy promotion at the local 4-H meeting. During the meeting, you are hoping that you will get home by 6 p.m. so that you can take a three hour exam that is due by 11:00 p.m. before you have to get back to the barn for your milking shift. Each day, the cycle repeats.
This scenario is a day in the life of a dairy princess. While many of us, especially farmers during the busy summer months, understand having a full schedule, I hope that this gives some insight on what a typical dairy promoter or princess may go through on a day-to-day basis. We never know what obstacle may be thrown into the mix of our daily lives, and through it all, we still have to put on our crown and sash and do what we do best, promote dairy farming!
For me, being a dairy princess is a commitment to the industry that I am most passionate about. It is a lot of long days and hard hours. Yet, at the same time, it means making new friendships that will last a lifetime, and memories that I will look back at years from now. I knew when I began my reign as Huntingdon County dairy princess that I wanted to do the best I could to serve my dairy community no matter what else I had going on in my life. I know that the same is true for every dairy princess that I had the privilege of working with during the 2016-2017 promotion year.
I am honored to serve the hard working dairy men and women of Pennsylvania because being a dairy princess is more than wearing a crown. It means dealing with and animals rights activists who disagree with everything you stand for, and doing it with a smile, even with only three hours of sleep under your belt. It means taking the time to explain to first graders the difference between real, wholesome milk and dairy alternatives so that those students can be informed on their choices. Being a dairy princess means persevering through the tough questions and standing tall with a smile on your face to represent dairy farming to the best of your ability. Even with the long days, and sometimes, long nights, being a dairy princess is one job I would never turn down!