On Sunday, November 8, 2020, Natalie Berry, Sherwood, Ore., was crowned the 2020 National Jersey Queen prior to the start of the National Jersey Jug Futurity. In a format different than previous years, this year’s ceremony allowed the light to shine on just a few of the breed’s youth, as well as the exhibitors and animals in the Jersey Jug.
In her role, Natalie will be attending Jersey events throughout the United States, promoting the Jersey breed and her members. She will be an active advocate of the dairy industry and sharing the benefits of drinking REAL Jersey milk, as well as eating other Jersey-made products.
Tell us about your Jersey background.
I first became involved with the Jersey breed when I asked my dad and uncle if I could show a Jersey heifer for pee-wee showmanship when I was five at the Oregon State Fair. They were just my size and were so cute! Since that first show, I have found a deep love and passion for the breed. I started to grow my own herd and show my Jersey cows at the local, state, and national levels. One of my greatest experiences was attending Jersey Youth Academy in 2019.
What does being crowned National Jersey Queen mean to you?
Being crowned the National Jersey Queen is a huge accomplishment! I have always had a passion and love for the dairy industry, but most specifically the Jersey breed. When I first attended the All American in 2016, I sat through the youth awards banquet and watched the queen contest and thought to myself that one day I want to do the same thing. While this year may have not been completely normal, I am so excited to serve as the National Jersey Queen. I have the honor to be a leader in the Jersey community and hope to encourage more kids to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them.
What do you want to be remembered for as the 2020 National Jersey Queen?
I want to be remembered for being a positive role model to all youth in the industry, as well as an advocate for the breed I love so dearly. I have been incredibly blessed to have such positive role models in my life from the Jersey community and I want to be able to be that for others.
What is your platform as queen?
My platform is choosing Jersey milk in a college student’s diet. As a college student, I have learned that it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet that fits a minimal budget. Jersey milk is packaged with great nutrients that help to fill our bodies and keep us motivated to keep on studying.
What has been your most memorable Jersey experience to date?
My most memorable Jersey experience to date would have to be the 2020 All American Jersey Show. On Saturday, I led the 2020 Reserve Grand Champion in the Junior Show, Triple-T-Heath Getaway To Cancun-ET. How could the show get any better than that?! But it did! The next day, I was crowned the 2020 National Jersey Queen by my first dairy friend, 2019 National Jersey Queen Gracie Krahn. And then during the open show, “Cancun” was named the Grand Champion. I was so ecstatic with how all of my hard work had paid off even during this crazy year and to never give up! It was a weekend only dreams are made of and to share it with a community I value so much was amazing!
What experience in life has helped to shape you the most?
One experience that has shaped me the most has been growing up in the dairy industry. I had the opportunity to learn so many life lessons that many of my friends at school did not understand. We traveled many weekends to my uncle’s house to help with farm chores when I could have been home hanging out with my friends from school. It was there that all of the early mornings and late nights working with my animals taught me to have a strong work ethic, as well as earning motivation to go for what I want. I learned why the little details and extra work are so important if you want to be successful. I was able to drive a tractor, use power tools, build barns, understand animal health, nutrition and why keeping their pen clean is so important. All these skills helped me to build confidence that I can achieve what I put my mind to.
I have also had the opportunity to create friendships all across the country with kids I met at shows and share the same passions as me. There is just something special about the friendships that are created in the show barn.
Why is it important to be involved in extracurricular activities such as FFA, school organizations, etc?
I have found that being involved in extracurricular has taught me time management and responsibility. It is important to be well-rounded. Being involved in 4-H and FFA, I learned many life lessons that were not taught in my high school classrooms, including how to present myself professionally and how to advocate for myself. In sports, I learned the importance of being a supportive teammate and working together towards a common goal. In other groups, I learned why it is important to give back to the community. All these lessons are interchangeable and are so important to be successful in life.
What advice would you offer other young dairy enthusiasts about the Jersey breed and the Jersey Youth programs?
I would advise all youth to first get involved in their local and state associations. I have been involved with my state association since I was a little girl and have had many opportunities to meet others around my state that share a common passion. I would also advise every youth to apply for Jersey Youth Academy. I was a member of Class VI and was able to expand my knowledge of the different aspects of the Jersey breed and made friendships to last a lifetime.
Most importantly, I would also want kids to know it is not the color of the ribbon they may win at a show. I have stood last in showmanship and in type classes, but I never gave up and continued to work hard towards my dreams. If I had not done both those things, I would never truly be able to appreciate the sense of joy and accomplishment of my success. It is about enjoying all the time spent in the barn, fields, and dining room tables planning, discussing, working, and making memories together with my family as we worked towards those goals. And all the friendships made along the way that I cherish so dearly!
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to graduate nursing school with a BSN and work in a children’s hospital. In my future career, I will be able to continue to advocate for an industry that I love. I also plan to continue to be involved in the dairy community both in Oregon and at the national level and maybe one day to live on a dairy farm of my own.