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Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal Archive

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Ann O'Leary


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

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Unveiling the Alice in Dairyland Exhibit
Jan. 29, 2017

This past weekend, I was surrounded by fellow supporters of the Alice in Dairyland program as we celebrated the grand opening of the Alice in Dairyland exhibit at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay.

The exhibit offers a wonderful display of the past 70 years of Alice in Dairyland and also contains some hands-on activities for any children that may wander through. Whether you are looking at the dress designed for the first Alice in Dairyland animatron at State Fair or admiring the pictures of all the previous Aliceís, there is a lot of history to observe. I even learned some things myself, like how Alice was originally a three-month position.

Two moments from this weekendís event really stand out in my mind. The first, was getting to see some former Aliceís at the exhibit. Itís always a joy getting to reconnect with women who also served in this role and getting to hear their stories. The second, was meeting one of the men that helped conceptualize the Alice in Dairyland program. Seeing him take in the history of the program and to hear the pride in his voice as he talked about getting Alice up and running was definitely a highlight.

I encourage everyone to visit the Alice in Dairyland exhibit yourself now through the end of June. To find more information on the display and museum hours, visitwww.nevillepublicmuseum.org.


Kuhn North America
Jan. 26, 2017

Every farmer needs equipment to help them do their job. Whether it is a manure spreader or a feed mixer, these machines can make light work of jobs that previously took hours for farmers to complete.

Today, I was able to tour Kuhn in Brodhead, one of the companies that builds farm equipment. The Brodhead site focuses on three product lines: feed mixers, manure spreaders, and hay rakes. This site was originally founded by the Knight family in 1945 and was known as Knight Manufacturing Company. Their first product was a spreader that could withstand spreading frozen manure and their company grew and diversified its product line over the years. In December 2002, Knight was purchased by Kuhn and now operates as a branch of that France based company.

Around 400 employees currently work at Kuhn in Brodhead. They manufacture the whole process of building the equipment from cutting sheet metal into parts to painting and decaling the finished product. During my tour, two things stood out - a commitment to quality and a passion for their products. Kuhn in Brodhead wants to make a product that gets the job done and is dependable. This was described perfectly by one of my tour guides who stated, ďItís our job to make sure farmers want to buy our product a second time around.Ē And with 10% of the Brodhead siteís sales going to farms outside of the US, I think they have made quite an impression with their quality around the world.

Click here to learn more about Kuhn.


Meat - It's in our nature
Jan. 20, 2017

Earlier this week, I was able to join top meat producers from across the state in Madison at the 2017 Meat Curing School offered by the University for industry professionals.

Meat crafters present ranged from small family run operations to large corporations with cliental across the nation. During the school, these professionals learn about the different ways to process and cure meat, expanding their skills and networks. They also have a meat showcase where each participant brings their favorite meat product from their company. In total, 32 different types of meat were present to sample!

Wisconsinís meat industry is a large part of our agricultural heritage. From cured hams to brats to sausages to fresh cuts, we produce it all. Many of our plants still use the same smokehouses they started with over 100 years ago. Today, the industry directly employees over 48,000 people and has a total economic impact of nearly $11 billion dollars. The meat industry also works closely with some of our top industries like dairy and mink. Whether it is processing bulls or giving protein sources to the mink farms, their partnership ensures the sustainability of all three industries.

Next time you are in the market for a good brat or steak, I encourage you to purchase from a locally produced goods. Your purchase will support our states farmers, communities, and economy.


School Blitz - Week One
Jan. 13, 2017

Each year, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection partners with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to teach 4th grade students about Wisconsinís rich history in agriculture. As Alice I get to travel the state and bring this presentation to nearly 100 different classrooms.

Itís tough for me to believe my first week of school visits is already over! What a joy it has been getting to visit 4th grade classrooms and to teach the students about agriculture. This weekís travels took me to Orfordville, Evansville, Lancaster, Platteville, Pardeeville and Portage. As part of the presentation, I play a trivia game with the students. I give them two clues such as ďItís our official state beverageĒ or ďwe all need 3 servings of this every day for strong bonesĒ and they then guess they get to guess which crop or product related to agriculture Iím thinking of in the state.

The answers arenít always correct and Iíve had many laughs over the past three days in each of the classrooms Iíve presented to. One of my favorite responses was after asking for the food that we grow to eat for breakfast either hot or cold. I was looking for the answer ďoatsĒ, but a student guessed Pop-Tarts instead. Needless to say we all had a good chuckle and then went on the rest of the game.

Iím looking forward to the remaining school visits and cannot wait to hear what other guesses and questions the students have! Follow my adventures via social media on the Alice Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Pages.


A Fair Event
Jan. 12, 2017

Last night I was surrounded by fair lovers at the 2017 Wisconsin Association of Fairs convention. We were all there to celebrate those that dedicate their time to Wisconsinís 76 unique fairs, and the selection of the 2017 Fairest of the Fair - Rebecca Starkenburg.

I was very excited to be there because my home county fair, Rock County 4-H Fair, has a lot to do with how I became Alice in Dairyland. Some of my fondest memories occurred at the fair grounds and itís where I fell in love with Agriculture. The county fair is also the first place I met an Alice in Dairyland. I remember watching Alice speak in the show ring to fair goers and wishing I could be her someday. Well that day has finally come and I couldnít be more excited to have visited many fairs this summer to promote Wisconsinís $88.3 billion agriculture industry.

At the Brown County Fair, I read stories about Wisconsin farms to children in the agventure tent and watched their faces light up when they saw my tiara. Attending the Rock County Fair was a wonderful homecoming and allowed me to thank many of the people that helped me get started in agriculture. Proud 4-H and FFA members told me stories about working with their animals at the Sheboygan County Fair. And of course there was the best 11 days of my summer Ė state fair.

Having these county fairs and state fair is so important to expose people to Wisconsinís agricultural industry. With the average consumer 3 to 4 generations removed from the farm, county and state fairs may be the only time they get to interact with our stateís signature industry. It offers them an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the diverse aspects of Wisconsin agriculture, bridging the gap between farmersí gates and consumersí plates.

Click here to learn more about the Wisconsin Association of Fairs and when your county fair will be held.


A Worldwide Powerhouse in Agriculture
Jan. 09, 2017

While Wisconsinites are very proud of our stateís agricultural commodities, and recognize that our state is well known throughout the U.S. for being number one in cheese production, they may not be aware of what a powerhouse Wisconsin is around the world when it comes to farming.

Every year, Wisconsin exports around $3 billion of agricultural products to nearly 145 countries across the globe. This value puts us in the top 15 within the United States for agricultural exports. Some export products may surprise Wisconsinites. For example, our state exported over $2 million of pickles in 2015; making Wisconsin the top exporter of pickles within the United States. Would you be surprised to know that Wisconsin is the top exporter of mink pelts in the country? Wisconsin mink ranchers consistently produce the highest quality mink pelts in the world, making Wisconsin mink highly sought after.

Sausage, ginseng roots, and cranberries round out the other export products Wisconsin ranks number one in the nation for. Wisconsin produces roughly 90 percent of the nationís ginseng supply, and 58 percent of the nationís cranberry supply each year.

Wisconsin is truly a powerhouse when it comes to agriculture and itís no wonder the rest of the world finds value in our products. Join me and learn more about Wisconsin agricultural exports by visiting the international agribusiness page within the international agribusiness page on the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection website.


The Search is On
Jan. 03, 2017

The start of 2017 marks the halfway point for my adventure as the 69th Alice in Dairyland. I have loved every minute of my journey and couldnít be more thankful for the people Iíve met and the places Iíve been able to go to.

Some highlights from my year have included State Fair, industry tours and the media campaigns. Iíve loved hearing the stories Wisconsiniteís have about our agricultural industry, ranging from retired farmers that use to milk their cows by hand, to kids fresh out of school aspiring to follow in their parentís footsteps. There is something special about Wisconsinís agricultural industry and being Alice has reminded me of that fact every day.

While I donít want this journey to end, it is time to start searching for my replacement. The 70th Alice in Dairyland will be selected on May 13th at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Applications open today and are due on February 6th at 4:30 PM.

This position represents the adventure of a lifetime. Not only do you get to learn about and promote Wisconsinís agricultural industry, but you also have the chance to explore career options and network with professionals every day. Being Alice helps you grow as a communicator, hone in on marketing and public relation skills and travel the state.

Donít miss out on your chance, apply to become the 70th Alice in Dairyland today! Application information can be found online at datcp.wi.com.


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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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