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Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Zoey Brooks

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Zoey Brooks

2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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Walworth County Tour
May. 20, 2015

I headed back to Walworth County today to spend a day touring through East Troy visiting with 4th graders, high school students, and visiting a few local agri-businesses.

I started the day at WSLD in Whitewater to chat about what students would be learning that day and highlights from my year as Alice, which is winding down in just two short weeks! From there, it was off to visit 4th graders at Prairie View Elementary to "Map Out a Healthy Wisconsin". I was also able to visit with the entire student body at Prairie View during lunch time, where we served up fresh yogurt parfaits to celebrate Wisconsin Dairy.

I stopped by East Troy High School to visit with a group of older students and encouraged them all to "Rethink Your Drink". We scooped out the amount of added sugar that is found in common drinks- Gatorade, soda, juice, Red Bull, etc. and compared to the added sugar found in white and chocolate milk. One serving of chocolate milk contains just 1 1/2 teaspoons of added sugar compared the 16 teaspoons that are found in a serving of soda. To visually see the amount of sugar they're ingesting helps these students to rethink what they're drinking and choose milk and chocolate milk as a healthy alternative!

I ended the day touring the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, an organization that promotes sustainable agriculture. I was able to tour their research gardens and learn more about how their outreach helps farmers all across Wisconsin practice and convert to sustainable farming practices. All in all, another great day spent in Walworth County!

Walworth County Blitz
May. 14, 2015

I spent this past week in Walworth County for my last school blitz of the year! While this marks the end of more than 100 classroom visits, every classroom I visit is new and different and each student is excited to meet "Alice" and learn something new.

I made stops in Lake Geneva, Delevan, and Elkhorn to take 4th graders on a virtual tour throughout the state of Wisconsin, learning about many of Wisconsin's products.

Near the end of the school year is when many 4th grade classrooms across the state begin their Wisconsin unit. This is perfect timing for a visit about our agriculture industry and its importance to the state. I hope 5, 10, or even 20 years down the line, these students remember "Alice" visiting their classrooms and remember a fact or two about how our foods are produced in Wisconsin!

Your 68th Alice in Dairyland is...
May. 09, 2015

...Teyanna Loether of Sauk City! After three intensive (and public) days of final interviews, Teyanna was selected to serve as our state's next official Agricultural Ambassador.

Tonight's Finale Program allowed an audience of hundreds to see the hard work of each candidate culminate in their final presentations. The candidates presented a 60 second agri-business talk focused on an agri-business we toured while in Manitowoc County and also a three minute final presentation focused on how we can grow Wisconsin agriculture forward. The presentations also helped the audience to learn more about agriculture in Manitowoc County and throughout the entire state of Wisconsin.

Each candidate showed a tremendous passion and knowledge of Wisconsin agriculture and I am confident that they will all go on to do great things for this industry in the future. I feel fortunate that I was able to meet each of these amazing women and get to know them over the course of these interviews.

Teyanna will begin her duties as the 68th Alice in Dairyland on June 1st. Learn more about her journey here!

Day Two of Final Interviews
May. 08, 2015

The candidates have one full day of interviews under their belts and we hit the ground running this morning to start off day two. Today was focused on learning more about agriculture in Manitowoc County and the businesses that are a part of it.

After breakfast, we had "dessert" at our first tour stop of the day, Cedar Crest Ice Cream. We went behind the scenes to see how this delicious treat is produced and even got to try a few sample for ourselves. We then traveled to another well known dairy producer in the county, Henning's Cheese in Kiel. We took a step back in time to learn about the history of cheesemaking in Wisconsin and toured Henning's facilities where they make their award winning cheeses.

We took a break for lunch and then headed out to our final two tours of the day, CNH Industrial in St. Nazianz and CP Feeds in Valders. CNH is well known for their two product lines, "Ag Bag" and "Nitro Sprayer", and we were able to see the production lines that assemble these implements. CP Feeds is a well known feed co-op among dairy farmers throughout Northeast Wisconsin and we were able to see how they provide rations for farms from start to finish.

The day rounded out with the Impromptu Q&A and Discussion session where candidates were able to take a walk in Alice's shoes and answer questions and discuss topics on the spot in front of an audience. Alice truly must be ready for anything! Tomorrow brings the much anticipated selection of Wisconsin's 68 Alice in Dairyland. Stay tuned!

#68Alice Finals Kick Off
May. 07, 2015

The long awaited day for our five 68th Alice in Dairyland candidates has finally arrived! The three day Final Interviews kicked off this morning and by Saturday evening, Wisconsin will have a new Alice.

We started the morning off bright and early with radio interviews live on air at WCUB AM 980 in Manitowoc. This is an important part of the finals process that is evaluated, as Alice conducts nearly 200 radio interviews in one year.

Next up were mock television interviews with Ag Reporter, Mike Austin. Candidates were evaluated on their ability to create a visual display, feature local businesses, and stick to strict studio time limits.

From there, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Luigi's Pizza and headed off to our first agri-business tour at Twin Cities Vue Dairy. Each candidate will be presenting on an agri-business that we tour at the Finale Program Saturday night.

You can keep up to date with the Finals process by following the hashtag #68Alice on social media and checking back here daily!

It's Breakfast Time!
May. 03, 2015

I joined the ladies of the Association of Women in Agriculture at UW-Madison this morning for their 20th Annual Breakfast on the Farm. Hundreds of people made the trip to the Stock Pavilion at the UW to fill up with a hearty farm breakfast.

Not only did these attendees enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal, they also learned how this food arrived on their plate. Educational booths helped both kids and adults to learn about everything from honey bees to farm machinery to Jersey calves.

Bucky Badger and the UW Band also made a guest appearance. My Bucky posters were a big hit among the Badger fans in attendance and many were able to have Bucky add his signature in addition to mine! Congrats to the hard working young women of AWA for putting on a tremendous event and helping others to learn where Breakfast comes from!

Western Wisconsin School Blitz
May. 01, 2015

Another blitz is in the books! I spent this past week in western Wisconsin visiting with more than 700 4th graders in Eau Claire, Dunn, Chippewa, Pierce, Pepin, and Buffalo Counties.

I traveled all over the western portion of our state, making stops in Eau Claire, Altoona, Colfax, Bloomer, River Falls, Cochrane-Fountain City, and Alma. Fourth graders, who are just wrapping up their studies on the state of Wisconsin were excited to learn about the crucial role that agriculture plays in our state's communities and the nutrition our foods offer to themselves!

What's great about the "Mapping Out a Healthy Wisconsin" presentation is that it's not only the students who learn something new, the teachers do too! Every teacher this week was amazed to learn new facts about the foods Wisconsin produces. As I say, there's always something new to learn and I am still learning something new everyday as Alice. You can learn more about my school visits by clicking here to watch my morning segment with Eau Claire's WEAU.

My Favorite Tree
Apr. 24, 2015

Happy Arbor Day! To celebrate our trees in Wisconsin and all of the wonderful products that they provide for us, I joined 4th graders on the Capitol Lawn to plant a beautiful red oak at the corner of Main and Pinckney. I was also able to share the story of my favorite tree with these students:

"When I was your age, I had a lot of favorite things. A favorite pet, a favorite sport, a favorite cow on our farm. But I also had a favorite tree. It was a massive oak tree that was more than 200 years old. It had been on our land long before my great, great, great grandfather came to Wisconsin to farm. This tree was 257 years old. It was planted when George Washington was President of the United States. This oak tree was humongous. My sister and I couldnít even touch fingers when both of us reached around it. I spent my childhood climbing that tree, watching it come to life every spring, and often used it as a landmark for races down Cross Road, the road it grew alongside of. Now, Cross Road was a tiny, one-way gravel road back then. And one day, the city came to us and said they were expanding and paving it. This meant that our giant, beloved oak tree would have to be cut down to make room for the road. My sister and I were set on making sure that would never happen. We took it upon ourselves to save that tree. I was in 4th grade, just like many of you. And I took a sheet of paper to school that next day and started getting signatures from students and teachers to save my favorite tree. I ended up getting near 100 signatures to petition this tree getting cut down and I presented it to our transportation department, showing them just how many people wanted to save this tree. When the initial road construction day came, my sister spent the entire day sitting at the base of this tree, not allowing them to take their chainsaws to it. She even packed a lunch so she would never leave her post. After all this, sadly, the tree had to come down. We were very sad, but knew that we did everything we could do as a fourth and seventh grader to save that tree. I want all of you to think of your favorite tree. And what you would do to protect it and make sure that itís around one hundred years from now for another kid to call it their favorite."

Thatís what Arbor Day is all about. Celebrating our trees and making sure that we take care of them. Because think of all the gifts that our trees offer us- lumber, paper, fruits, and syrups to name a few. I encouraged every one of these students to come back to that very spot in 20 years to look at what that red oak tree has become and take pride in saying "I planted that".

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Contact the Alice In Dairyland Program at:
2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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