Lisa Tucker at Edible Buffalo recently reported, “The Dairy Princess program is alive and well in New York State. In fact, it is one of the few youth development programs in agriculture that is growing and expanding each year. What was once a grooming program to teach young ladies how to be prim and proper dairy industry representatives has evolved over the years to become a coveted leadership development program for young women interested in careers in agriculture.”

Lisa explains the program perfectly in her article.  The Dairy Princess program, offered through the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council with dairy farmer checkoff dollars, is exactly how I got my start.  I was an ordinary farm kid that enjoyed the lifestyle my parents chose, but knew I didn’t have it in me to be an actual farmer myself.  So instead, the Dairy Princess program offered me a chance to learn how to advocate for the dairy industry.  I learned how to speak to an audience of consumers, how to write press releases, how to dress for different occasions, and how to answer tough questions about farm practices and misconceptions about milk.  At the age of 16, the program took me off the farm and into a leadership position that I embraced.  I loved the challenge of educating the uneducated about milk and dairy farming and saw the whole experience as an opportunity.  It was right there and then that my career was launched.  At that point I knew which direction I wanted to head and I haven’t turned back for a second.  

1991 New York State Dairy Princess

Jessica Chittenden Ziehm, the 1991 New York State Dairy Princess. I owe my career to that crown and sash.