Meet Gracie Krahn, the 2019 National Jersey Queen!

On Sunday, November 11, 2019, Gracie Krahn of Albany, Ore., made her first appearance as the National Jersey Queen during the 2019 National Jersey Jug Futurity at the All American Jersey Show. In her role, Gracie 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.

We want to give you the chance to get to know Gracie through a Q&A feature with Jersey Journal. If you have any additional questions, send us an email and we’ll relay them to her. We’re sure Gracie would love to tell you more about her background, farm life and especially, the Jersey cow!

Tell us about your Jersey background.

The Jersey cow has been my inspiration for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest childhood memories was showing my first Jersey heifer at the Western Oregon Junior Jersey Show at just three-years-old. Since then I have had the opportunity to exhibit my Jerseys at a variety of local, state, and national shows – including World Dairy Expo and the All American Jersey Show. My passion for showing and advocating for Jerseys has only grown through the years.

Currently, my herd of Registered Jerseys consists of 29 head. My daily farm activities include milking, feeding all the animals, cleaning pens, monitoring heats, bull selection and treating animals. In addition, I am in charge of all our show and sale animals. This responsibility includes managing their daily feed rations, hair and skin condition, halter breaking and overall show preparation. I also do the clipping and fitting.

Recently my family began bottling our own milk. Our dairy, Royal Riverside Farm, is one of only a handful of farmstead creameries in Oregon, which has allowed me to expand my knowledge of processing and marketing milk. Our milk is sold in 35 stores in Oregon and also at our local farmer’s market. I enjoy marketing our milk and answering questions that so many people have about dairy farming (and Jerseys!). This opportunity has enabled me to educate consumers at a grass roots level. I believe this has helped bridge the gap that so many consumers have about production agriculture. I feel blessed to be able to educate our customers by telling my story. I am passionate about Jerseys and about advocating for agriculture. I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can advocate for both on a regular basis.

What does being crowned National Jersey Queen mean to you?

Being crowned the 2019 National Jersey Queen is a dream come true for me. As National Jersey Queen, I am an ambassador for something that has influenced my life tremendously – the Jersey cow. I cannot think of anything more gratifying than to give back to an industry that is so dear to my heart. Being a sixth-generation dairy farmer, my love for the Jersey cow runs deep. I am honored to represent Jersey dairy farmers from across our great nation as I work to promote the Jersey breed, advocate for the health benefits of drinking Jersey milk and endorse the fact that Jerseys are uniquely right for today’s tough economic times.

What do you want to be remembered for as the 2019 National Jersey Queen?

I want to be remembered as the queen who helped bridge the gap from gate to plate. I believe that my background allows me to represent the Jersey breed in a unique way as I am involved from conception of a calf to later seeing that calf’s milk consumed when she’s a cow.

As a young woman actively involved in both milk production and processing in a vertically integrated operation, I am fortunate to have a personal understanding of what making milk really consists of.   I have discovered a passion for advocacy – both for the Jersey breed and for the health benefits of consuming REAL milk. There has been, and continues to be, a rise in consumption of plant-based beverages. Statistics show that these milk alternatives have become a common-place term and soared off the shelves, resulting in a 78% increase in consumption. In my opinion, this comes as a precursor to the rise of anti-dairy groups flooding the media with negative and untrue statements about what occurs in the dairy industry. Production agriculture is in a numbers game where we are already at a disadvantage with less than 2% of the nation’s population providing for the remaining 98% of people. An even smaller number is involved in the dairy industry.

As a passionate individual for the Jersey breed and dairy industry as a whole, these statistics concern me. I am eager to be able to use my title as an avenue to communicate face-to-face with consumers, dispel common myths, and share my story – the TRUTH of what happens on the farm. Overall, I want to be remembered as a young woman who passionately advocated for the Jersey breed and the health benefits of milk consumption.

What has been your most memorable Jersey experience to date?

During the 2013 All American Jersey Show in Louisville, Ky., I had the privilege of exhibiting Miss Nastias Tequila Nutcracker-ET to be the All American Winter Calf in both the Junior and Open shows. She was also awarded the title of Reserve Junior Champion of the Junior and Open shows. To this day, she continues to produce high-quality females that I have had the opportunity to market across the United States and Canada.

What experience in life has helped to shape you the most?

Without a doubt, the experiences I have had growing up on a dairy farm have helped shape my life the most. As a farmer’s daughter, work ethic was instilled in me at an early age. Farming has taught me to maintain a positive attitude, especially in the face of adversity.

  It has also taught me the importance of service. At just eight years old, I could recite the 4-H Pledge that includes the line, “I pledge my hands to larger service.” I believe serving others is critical in developing leadership skills and teamwork. Whether serving my family, my school, or my community – I have learned that being part of something bigger than myself instigates a great sense of pride and belonging.

Being raised on a farm has also taught me how to take criticism. When faced with critiques in the show ring, acknowledging a judge’s perspective has taught me humility and grace. Showing livestock has taught me that constructive criticism is the only way to get better. This is certainly a lesson that I will carry into my future.  

My Jersey activities have helped me with time management tremendously. Grades are very important to me, so learning to take advantage of every moment in my day to complete coursework enables me to spend more time in the barn at night with my cows. Jersey activities have helped me network with dairy industry professionals, which is critical for my future as I look to pursue a career of dairy advocacy in the future. I understand how valuable the connections that I have made over the years are and look forward to continuing to capitalize on these opportunities for my future career growth and personal success.

Why is it important to be involved in extracurricular activities such as FFA, school organizations, etc.?

Throughout high school, I have been actively involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. Currently, I serve as president in both my FFA chapter and district, president of my 4-H Club, captain of my cheer team, and am a member of the National Honor Society. While being involved in so many activities can be challenging to manage at times, these experiences have molded me into the person I am today.

I believe being involved in extracurricular activities is important because it teaches young people to communicate, how to effectively work together and sometimes compromise and how important time management is. Personally, being involved in non-agriculture activities has given me the ability to be more open minded, to see other people’s perspective on things that I live every day (like farming and drinking REAL MILK ) and to learn how to effectively communicate with these individuals.

What are your future plans?

Upon graduation from Santiam Christian High School next spring, I plan to run for Oregon FFA State Office. If elected, I will defer college for one year in order to fulfill the required obligations associated with being a state officer. In terms of continuing education, I plan to attend Oklahoma State University where I will dual major in Agricultural Communications and Animal Sciences. While at OSU, I hope to compete on their Dairy Cattle Evaluation Team.

I also plan to attend the Jersey Youth Academy in 2021. This experience will allow me to gain many valuable experiences to increase my knowledge about the Jersey breed and the many programs that the American Jersey Cattle Association has for its members. Ultimately, my professional goal is to obtain a career in the dairy industry where I can combine my on-farm experiences with my skills in agricultural communications to promote the dairy industry.

More about Gracie

National Jersey Queen Gracie will be making appearances through the next year. Watch our website and the National Jersey Queen Facebook page to see her activities.