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Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Teyanna Loether

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Teyanna Loether

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

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We'll See You at Lambeau Field...
May. 13, 2016

...for the 70th Alice in Dairyland final interviews!

Each year, a different county in Wisconsin hosts the final interviews that lead to the selection of the next Alice. This year, Dodge County did a wonderful job as hosts for the 69th Alice final interviews. Each month leading up to the final three days, I visited the county to learn more about local agribusinesses and met many of the incredible people that worked for months to prepare for the finals. The 69th Alice will have the privilege of doing so in Brown County!

The committee from Brown County has already been hard at work to prepare for the upcoming year. To celebrate the announcement, I attended a press conference in Brown County to share the news with local media. We had numerous TV stations and journalists there from local newspapers-- it was inspiring to see the support of the community for this landmark event in Alice history!

Stay tuned to to learn more about attending the 70th Alice finale at Lambeau Field.

True Friends of Alice
May. 11, 2016

Exactly a year ago when I was selected as the 68th Alice in Dairyland, I spoke with the media in a press conference immediately following the finale. It was there that I met Bryant Gill for the first time-- who I found out was the Fabulous Farm Babe's brand new assistant for the Farm Report.

A few weeks later we sat down in studio for an interview to share my excitement for the position of Alice and what I looked forward to in being Wisconsin's agriculture ambassador. Over the course of my year, Pam and Bryant and I have talked everything from emus and alpacas to keeping the next generation interested in agriculture. They've even had me on air as a guest market reporter! And finally, during the three day final interviews in Dodge County, we teamed up to do a live broadcast on Pam's Farm Report to highlight the process of becoming the 69th Alice.

It was my honor to present this year's Friend of Alice award to the Fabulous Farm Babe, Pam Jahnke, and the Farm Dude, Bryant Gill. I've learned so much about communicating the story of Wisconsin's $88.3 billion agriculture industry from Pam and Bryant. They've taught me how to connect with consumers and agriculturalists alike by thinking about what reaches the heart and soul on the other end of the radio. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for always welcoming me into the studio and onto the microphone, and for all that you do for the Alice program and Wisconsin agriculture!

And Your 69th Alice in Dairyland Is...
May. 07, 2016

...Ann O'Leary of Evansville! It is my honor to announce to you that our 69th Alice in Dairyland, Ann O'Leary, will continue on the legacy of Wisconsin's agriculture ambassador. Over the course of the interviews, Ann and the top candidates told the story of Wisconsin agriculture through radio, television, panel discussions and interviews. Ann will officially begin her duties as the 69th Alice on June 6th to kick off June Dairy Month right here in the heart of America's Dairyland.

After an unbelievable three days with all of the top candidates, I certainly did not envy the selection panel's job of choosing only one. Prior to going on stage for their final speeches, I told the candidates they were all truly Alice's at heart from the dedication, professionalism, and enthusiasm that we saw for communicating in agriculture already. The journey to becoming the 69th Alice is where each candidate gained life-long skills that will carry into whichever career path they take.

I am so proud of and happy for Ann O'Leary, the 69th Alice in Dairyland. My heart is so full and fulfilled with all of the stories, support, and love for the people within Wisconsin agriculture. It's an honor to pass this opportunity on for Ann as well!

69th Alice Final Interviews: Day 2
May. 06, 2016

I was even more excited heading in to the second day of the journey to becoming the 69th Alice. We've already spent an incredible day in Dodge County learning about their $2.86 billion local agriculture community and we had even more opportunities to do so today!

We started the day right with a coffee delivery from Berres Brothers, the creators of the official 69th Alice Cream Puff Coffee. Next we toured JW Jung greenhouse, Animart, and United Cooperative. In between tours, the candidates interviewed live on-air at WBEV radio in Beaver Dam. Each candidate had the opportunity to share with listeners about their background, their motivations for applying for the job, and their knowledge of Wisconsin agriculture.

The evening concluded with a fantastic representation of what it truly means to be Alice in the public's eye. A discussion panel was held at the beautiful Barn at Windy Pine. The candidates went through 10 rounds of answering to topics and questions within modern-day agriculture. These questions ranged from "How do we keep the next generation interested in agricultural careers?" to "What types of opportunities and challenges do Wisconsin's #1 products face?" Alice encounters these types of questions on a daily basis whether at events, on the radio, or in a classroom.

As each hour passes, I am more and more proud and honored to call these top candidates fellow advocates in agriculture. They are ALL professional, articulate, intelligent, and enthusiastic agvocates for Wisconsin's $88 billion agriculture industry!

69th Alice in Dairyland Finals: Day 1
May. 05, 2016

Today is the day! The 69th Alice in Dairyland final interviews have officially begun in Dodge County. The top candidates arrived early this morning and were briefed on the final schedule of events. We greeted the social media world with our very first Alice 'Live' video on Facebook-- stay tuned to see a few more of the process throughout the next few days.

Similar to my first day on the job as Alice, we hit the ground running. Each candidate began the morning with a television interview, which was recorded in-studio at Watertown TV. We then spent the remainder of the day touring local agribusinesses. It was a jam packed day of learning at Seneca Foods, Grande, and John Deere Horicon Works. At the end of all of the tours, each candidate will choose one agribusiness from a hat and give an impromptu speech at the finale on what they learned!

Today is another busy day filled with tours, a radio interview, and the discussion panel this evening. Stay tuned to Facebook for live videos and photos, as well as the @Alice_Dairyland Twitter for a live tweet feed!

69th Alice Top Candidate: Joanna Wavrunek
Apr. 29, 2016

Introducing our final top candidate for the 69th Alice in Dairyland, Joanna Wavrunek! A unique aspect of Joanna's background: although she grew up on a dairy farm and within the agriculture industry, she attended a non-agricultural school to study communications. She believes the Alice experience is about being "a teacher and a student" by meeting with experts in the field and taking that knowledge to students and consumers.

Joanna, Denmark, is the fifth generation of her family involved in the farming industry. Agriculture has and continues to be the foundation around which she has built her life. Her passion led her to serve as the State FFA Reporter and work as a facilitator for the National FFA Organization. She promoted the agriculture industry while building leadership, civic engagement, and career success to thousands of students. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh majoring in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy. Wavrunek currently works on her family's dairy farm and at WIXX as a radio personality.

"As Alice in Dairyland, I would use my experiences, education and personality along with various resources to share the story of Wisconsin agriculture to educate a broad audience and encourage agriculturalists to be effective advocates."

69th Alice Top Candidate: Emily Selner
Apr. 25, 2016

Meet Emily Selner, your next 69th Alice in Dairyland top candidate! Emily says that what makes her a unique fit for the position is her wide range of experiences within agriculture. She has worked with producers, cheesemakers, cooperatives, and consumers "to help make the agriculture community in Wisconsin great."

Emily Selner, Denmark, hopes to apply her diverse experience in the agricultural and food industry as Wisconsin's agricultural ambassador. Growing up, Selner was active on her family's dairy farm, where they milked registered Holstein cows. In May, she'll complete her bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics and Life Sciences Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UW-Madison, she is president of UW's Association of Women in Agriculture, chaired the World Dairy Expo Cheese Stand and is active in Collegiate Farm Bureau. She currently works at the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association. She plans to attend law school in the future to become an attorney serving Wisconsin's agriculture industry.

"My passion for agriculture is rivaled only by my love for all things Wisconsin. It would be an honor to represent Wisconsin agriculture and share my experiences with consumers, agriculturists and others as the 69th Alice in Dairyland."

Celebrating Wisconsin Alpacas
Apr. 23, 2016

The alpacas were humming happily at the Wisconsin Alpaca & Fiber Fest! I attended this weekend and helped celebrate the diversity of Wisconsin livestock with farmers and exhibitors.

What's interesting about the alpaca industry is that many farmers, breeders, and owners did not come from an agricultural background. I spoke to many people that grew up in Milwaukee, saw alpacas while driving through the country side one day, or heard about them through a friend and decided to buy a small farm to raise a herd.

I met Jessilyn at the alpaca show and was truly inspired by her story. She did not grow up on a farm, but her neighbors own and care for a herd of alpacas. She loves how unique alpacas are while still being rooted in agriculture, so she was inspired to learn more through a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) within her FFA chapter. Jessilyn is a sophomore in high school and already passionate about sharing how much fun she has had becoming involved in Wisconsin agriculture through the alpaca industry!

Alpacas are similar to livestock such as dairy, beef, or swine, as the top quality products stem from careful genetic selection. All registered alpacas are DNA tested to certify for genetic quality and health. Alpaca show classes are divided by color, age, breed, and male or female. In the halter classes, the most important criteria the judge looks for is fleece quality, along with conformation.

Alpaca can come in a wide range of colors; 26 color variations are recognized within he textile industry. There are two breeds of alpacas in Wisconsin: the Huacaya and the Suri. They are both approximately 200 lbs in size and weight, but the fibers are what differ. The Huacaya fibers are light and airy in appearance, with a crimped undercoat. The Suri fibers are more silky and dreadlocked. But, both are equally warm, soft, water resistant, and hypoallergenic as alpaca wool is lanolin free.

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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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