||Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Zoey Brooks
Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115
A Day in the Office Life of Alice
Aug. 28, 2014
While this may be a Travel Journal, I'm often asked, "What does Alice do when she's not out on the road?". Welcome to a day in the life of Alice- in the office. As Alice serves as a public relations professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), there's more to my job than attending events and smiling for pictures.
When I'm not traveling, DATCP's headquarters are my home base. This is where a lot of the magic happens behind the scenes. I have amazing coworkers here that help me spread the message of Wisconsin agriculture and supply me with the facts, statistics, and figures I need to get the message across.
Much of my time in the office is spent researching and writing. As Alice, I write for six different publications and papers. You can check out my columns in Agri-View, The Country Today, Dairy Star, Plymouth Review Xtra, Sheboygan Beacon, and my editorials in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These print publications are a great way for me to reach audiences across Wisconsin- both rural and urban.
Time in the office is also spent prepping for when I'm on the road next. Coming up in the next several months, I will be on the road for multiple media campaigns. This means a lot of planning and organizing beforehand- contacting media, booking hotels, setting routes, and preparing scripts are just a few details that go into planning a campaign. Make sure to watch for my Soybean Campaign in September, Farm to School Campaign in October, and Something Special from Wisconsin Campaign in November.
And last but not least, as anyone who works on the road knows, there's always an inbox of emails, stack of letters, and a phone full of voicemails waiting for you upon your return. Anything that I'm not able to accomplish at my desk away from work (Ethul), I get the chance to catch up on when I'm back in the office.
I always enjoy getting the chance to spend time in the office to learn something new about Wisconsin ag, visit with colleagues, and give Ethul a rest. We'll be out on the road again soon!
Waupaca and Manitowoc County Fairs
Aug. 23, 2014
This Saturday was full of fairs as I visited Waupaca and Manitowoc County Fairs. It was extra special to be back at my home county fair as I grew up showing there. Even though I grew up on a dairy farm, I spent my childhood showing horses at the County Fair. So I was excited to jump into the dairy show ring for the Junior Dairy Show and Dairy Showmanship. It was great to see familiar faces in the ring and also meet some new exhibitors.
From there, I headed to Manitowoc for their 10th Annual Futurity Show. Exhibitors took to the ring wearing their finest as they showcased their premier dairy cattle. I look forward to visiting Manitowoc County each month as they are the host of the 68th Alice in Dairyland Finals. I learned that there are more cows than people in Manitowoc County (about 93,000 more), and these cows rank #1 in the state for milk production per cow. This industry was on full display at the Futurity Show and it was great to meet new community members that are making the Alice Finals possible!
Ethul Visits WSAW
Aug. 18, 2014
While Ethul travels all across Wisconsin, she usually sits tucked away in a parking lot. Today she got her three minutes of fame during my monthly interview with Diana Normand in Wausau. I stopped by WSAW to talk about the renewable biofuel that Ethul runs on- ethanol.
I gave Diana some insight on where all the corn grown here in Wisconsin goes. While sweet corn is of course one of the most noticeable, and delicious, types of corn in Wisconsin, it accounts for only 1% of the total crop grown in our state. The majority is #2 yellow dent corn, or field corn for short. This type of corn is grown to either be fed directly to livestock or to produce ethanol, which also helps to provide livestock feed in addition to fuel.
One out of every four rows of corn grown here in Wisconsin is used for ethanol production. One bushel of this corn (56 pounds) produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17.5 pounds of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). DDGS are composed of the non-starch portions of the kernel and make a protein rich feedstuff for livestock.
We also chatted about Ethul herself. This E-85 Tahoe is provided to Alice by the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and is a great way for me to promote our local corn growers and the ethanol industry by simply driving around the state. Make sure to look for us during our travels this year- and lookout for her twin, Cornelius, who is still out and about on the road!
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days
Aug. 14, 2014
It was great to be back in my area of the state for this year’s Farm Technology Days in Portage County. This year’s show was cohosted by Feltz Family Farms and Blue Top Farms near Plover. We were in the heart of potato country, as Portage County is our state’s number one producer of potatoes. This part of the state is also known for its production of sweet corn, green beans, and green peas. These industries were on full display over the course of the three days and I was able to learn a new thing or two about these veggies and their production!
Each day of the show, I was able to introduce the two host families and ask them a few questions in order for the audience to learn more about their families and their farms. Both of these families had children who returned to the farm and also had the next generation interested in returning, as well. They are a great example of why 99% of farms here in Wisconsin are still family owned.
I was also able to recognize eight outstanding women who were awarded the “Pioneer Women in Agriculture” award. This award commended them on the contributions they made not only to their own family farm, but to Wisconsin agriculture overall. They are excellent role models for young women looking to become involved in production agriculture and I myself aspire to live up to the impact they have had on this industry.
Farm Technology Days is for more than just farmers and agriculturists. It’s a way for those in the industry to proudly display what Wisconsin agriculture is all about to their local communities. I hope many of you were able to make it to Portage County to see this show for yourself and to learn something new. Next year’s show will be held in Dane County by Statz Brothers, Inc. Hope to see you there!
Wisconsin State Fair: Closing Day
Aug. 10, 2014
Time sure does fly when you're having fun! Just like that, we are on the final day of the Wisconsin State Fair, and what an amazing 11 days it has been.
I stopped by several open shows to start the day off, including the Dairy Goat, Dairy, and Rabbit shows. From there, it was off to my final milking demonstration at the milking parlor, my last meet & greet, and the final presentation of "Growing a Healthy Wisconsin". It was such a great experience to meet new people each day of the fair at these events and to share with them the message of Wisconsin agriculture.
I also stopped into the coliseum to help with the awards for the Supreme Champion Drive of the Open Dairy Show. This show brings in both the Grand and Reserve Champions for each breed of dairy cattle. Congratulations to the Grand Champion Holstein, Reserve Champion Brown Swiss, and Honorable Mention Jersey!
I certainly "Got into Something Good" at the Wisconsin State Fair and I hope you too were able to experience it for yourself. Even though the Wisconsin State Fair has come to a close for another year, there are still many county fairs going on across the state through the end of the summer. Get into something good at these fairs and learn more about our state’s agriculture in a fun way!
Wisconsin State Fair: Day 10
Aug. 09, 2014
Many of the Open Shows kicked off at the Wisconsin State Fair today. I stopped in to welcome fairgoers and share a few facts about Wisconsin agriculture at the Open Dairy Goat, Beef, and Rabbit Shows. I was also able to award the Supreme Champion at the Beef Show. Congratulations to all exhibitors on the hard work you put into exhibiting your animals at the State Fair level.
Miniature Donkeys also made their way into the coliseum for the Miniature Donkey Show, which included halter showmanship, cart driving, and my personal favorite, novelty costume. While I wasn't able to get on a 6-horse hitch while at the fair, I was able to take the reins on a donkey cart during this show!
The last event of the day was the Wisconsin Holstein Association Futurity Show. Entries in this show were evaluated not only on the composition and genetics of the cow, but on the attire of the exhibitor, as well. The purpose of the WHA Futurity is to help promote the dairy industry to the general public and display the care and dedication that these exhibitors have for their animals and the products they produce. I was also reunited with three former Alices at this show- Kristin Olson, Rochelle Ripp Schnadt, and Ashley Andre. These ladies continue to be deeply rooted in Wisconsin's dairy and agriculture community- it was great to see you all!
Wisconsin State Fair: Day 9
Aug. 08, 2014
The second Friday of the Wisconsin State Fair brought in huge crowds to "Get into Something Good" at the fair. I began my day at the milking parlor for the daily milking demo, where I was asked many questions about dairy cows and the milking process. Questions ranged from "What is the cow's name?" to "How many pounds of milk does a cow produce a day and what it that conversion to gallons?". These demonstrations are a great way to connect fairgoers with Wisconsin's dairy industry and to have their questions answered straight from the source.
Fairest of the Fairs, Kaitlyn Riley, and I also visited WTMJ Radio to talk about our State Fair experiences on-air. They surprised us by having us go head to head in State Fair Trivia. I pulled away by one point for the win when I was asked how many vendors sell corn dogs at the State Fair- a surprising 13!
The day wrapped up at the Governor's Blue Ribbon Cheese and Butter Auction. Award winning cheese and butter were put up for bidding to support Wisconsin's local cheese and butter makers as well as the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. Before the auction began, these cheesemakers offered samples of their award winning cheese- it was a meal in itself! Thank you to all the generous bidders who made this auction a success and for supporting our local dairy producers!
Wisconsin State Fair: Day 8
Aug. 07, 2014
I started off Day 8 of the Wisconsin State Fair by visiting the Junior Shows for sheep, swine, and beef. I was able to welcome the audience, wish good luck to the exhibitors, and share a few facts about the impact of these industries for Wisconsin. These exhibitors work all year to prepare their animals for State Fair and it was great to see all of their hard work paying off.
From there, it was on to the daily milking demo, my meet and greet, and presentation of "Growing a Healthy Wisconsin" in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. I made sure to stop into the Honey Producers Booth while in the Pavilion to get my daily fix of honey lemonade to soothe my sore throat- lots of talking by Day 8!
I also stopped in the House of Moo to visit with kids and give them the chance to pet a cow. The cow experts in the House of Moo do a fantastic job of connecting visitors with the dairy industry and answering the toughest questions that these visitors may have about dairy cows and dairying in Wisconsin.
The day ended with the Draft Horse Hitches in the Coliseum. These hitches are quite a site to see and I hope to get on one of the 6-horse hitches by the end of the fair!
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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