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Crystal Siemers-Peterman Selected as 70th Alice in Dairyland
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/15/2017

A Manitowoc County woman has been crowned as Wisconsin's 70th Alice in Dairyland in Titletown. Crystal Siemers-Peterman from Cleveland was selected for the honor Saturday night at the Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay during a finale program hosted by Brown County.

A new graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Siemers-Peterman majored in agricultural and food business management and has a minor in marketing. Crystal grew up on her family's registered Holstein dairy farm and was active in the Manitowoc County Junior Holstein Association, Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association and Manitowoc County 4-H. In college, she served as an intern at Sassy Cow Creamery, FLM+ Advertising Agency, and Land O'Lakes Inc. She was also involved in the National Agri-marketing Association, National Grocers Association and Gopher Dairy Club.

"What a privilege and honor it is to be standing here tonight," an emotional Siemers-Peterman said in her acceptance speech. "I promise to carry on the legacy of this program just like those who served before me. I want to support all the farmers, those who work in agriculture, along with the communities and economies they represent."

Other finalists in the running during the competition were Abrielle Backhaus, Kewaskum; Jenna Crayton, Oak Creek; Alexis Dunnum, Westby; Kaitlyn Riley, Gays Mills; and Kelly Wilfert, Two Rivers.

Serving as judges this year were Sandra Chalmers, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture; Vicki Janisch, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; and Corey Geiger, Hoard's Dairyman. WBAY-TV Sports Director Bill Jartz served as the master of ceremonies.

Meanwhile, this year's 'Alice' Ann O'Leary of Evansville said the past year has been the adventure of a lifetime.

"It has been my honor and an absolute joy to serve as Wisconsin's agricultural ambassador," O'Leary said. "While each experience and interaction over the year left an impression on my heart, the biggest feeling I am walking away with is pride--pride for our state's agricultural community.

And before giving up her title, Ann presented the 2017 Friend of Alice Award to Mike Austin of WTAQ Radio & WBAY TV in Green Bay

Also in the crowd on Saturday were over three dozen former 'Alices' who came to take part in the celebration. They include Margaret Blott-1948, Mary Ellen Jordal-1953, Dorie Underkofler-1956, Carol Anderson Koby-1961, Sylvia Kafkas-1962, Jo Ann Nordstrum-1966, Kristin Gramando-1967, Joana Smocke-1974, Janice Aiken-1976, Karyn Schauf-1977, Laura Drendel-1978, Debra Crave-1981, Dorothy Farrell-1982, Lisa Behnke-1985, Liz Henry-1986, Kris Welsh-1987, Stephanie Binversie-1989, Kim Flitcroft-1990, Kristan Collins-1992, Angela Tuthill-1993, Jolynne Schroephfer-1995, Courtney Booth-1997, Jennifer Hasler-1998, Roxanne Peelen-2000, Sheri Hicken-2001, Natalie Killion-2003, Betsy Francoeur-2004, Gena Cooper-2005, Nicole Barlass-2006, Jill Makovec-2007, Ashley Andre-2008, Christine Lindner-2010, Rochelle Schnadt-2012, Kristin Olson-2013, Zoey Brooks-2014, and Teyanna Loether-2015.

Those ladies joined the audience in a standing ovation to honor longtime DATCP employee Donald Wilkinson, who helped start the Alice in Dairyland program in 1948.

Siemers-Peterman officially begins her duties as Alice on June 5. Until then, O'Leary will continue to make appearances at various events as her successor goes through a brief training process.

Alice in Dairyland is a full-time public relations professional employed by the state's division of agricultural development. Each year, she travels more than 40,000 miles throughout the state and nation, promoting Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages and types.

Brown County has more than 1,000 farms that contribute $1.3 billion to the county's total income. Mostly known for its meat packing industry, agriculture provides thousands of jobs in the area and accounts for more than $4.6 billion in economic activity.

Next year, the Alice in Dairyland finals will be held in Adams County in May 2018.

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