It has been six months since my dream of becoming National Jersey Queen became a reality. Being crowned at the 2019 All American Jersey Show is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Since then, so much has changed in our world. Although we are living in the midst of uncertainty, one thing that remains a constant in my life is my love for the Jersey cow. My deep-rooted passion for the Jersey cow has been a mainstay in my life since before I can remember.
Growing up on a small Jersey dairy in Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley, my sister and I are intricately involved in every aspect of our farm. Our day starts just like every other dairy farmer – before the crack of dawn. We milk cows, feed heifers and calves, clean pens, and take care of all the details involved with raising our princesses with pride. One of my favorite activities on the farm is caring for our show string. There’s something special about delivering a baby calf, bottle feeding and caring for her through the infancy phase, halter training, washing & working hair, and finally being able to take her to county or state fair. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize, though, that the most valuable lessons learned through my days on the farm – even showing my Jerseys – is the many life skills like responsibility, dedication, honesty, integrity, and hard work. Of course, earning a trophy or ribbon at the fair can be exhilarating, however, the life skills that got me there in the first place are the true reward. I can confidently say that these are the things that have grown me into the strong, independent young woman that I have become.
In 2018, my family built a farmstead creamery where we bottle and sell our milk directly to our customers. This was a dream come true for our small family farm, allowing us to create a niche market for our products. We started out in only five stores locally, and in two short years our creamline and chocolate milk is now found in over 35 stores in Oregon. This has created an opportunity for me to advocate for the Jersey cow and her nutritious milk. I have found that consumers are eager to learn about what happens on the farm and genuinely care about where their food comes from. This has undoubtedly allowed me to grow my passion for the dairy industry, inspiring me to pursue a future career in agricultural advocacy.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of becoming the National Jersey Queen. I cannot think of anything more rewarding than to spend this year using my crown as the platform to tell my story, as well as the story of Jersey breeders across the country. Since my coronation, I have had the opportunity to advocate for the Jersey cow at local farmers markets and in classroom presentations. Whether a consumer with an assortment of questions about the dairy industry, or a first grader who believes that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, I feel incredibly blessed to be able to share my knowledge and passion with a variety of audiences.
As I look ahead to future events during my year, I am eager for the Western National Jersey Show, World Dairy Expo, and the All American Jersey Show this fall. Though the COVID-19 crisis has taken life in a different direction recently, I am hopeful that normalcy will resume this fall and that national shows will still be able to take place. There is something electric about the fall show circuit and being able to surround myself with the finest cows in the country, exhibited by breeders whose passion for the Jersey cow is just as strong as my own.
I would venture to say that six months ago my dream came true, but I certainly did not think that in the middle of my year, I would be living through a worldwide pandemic and be required to wear a mask to go into town. There is no denying that this has thrown a curveball for everyone, but no one has been affected in more dramatic ways than our dairy farmers. In a time that is nearly economically impossible to survive, with all odds against them, dairy farmers continue to provide Nature’s Most Nearly Perfect food for our country and our world. Now more than ever, I feel honored to be able to be a spokesperson for the hardest working individuals in America. I am forever grateful to serve the Jersey industry this year as 2019 National Jersey Queen.