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Abigail Martin Reflects Back on Her Year as 'Alice'
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/12/2020

The recent state at home order may have affected her travel schedule, but it didn't stop Abigail Martin from spreading the important information about Wisconsin agriculture to others. The state's 72nd Alice in Dairyland told Wisconsin Ag Connection in an exclusive interview that the COVID-19 pandemic gave her an opportunity to use alternative methods over the past several months to communicate virtually with the pubic.

"Since mid-March, I have been working from home and stretching my creative muscle to reach people whenever and wherever I could," Martin said. "I did a lot of radio interviews and even set up a makeshift TV studio in my apartment so I could do television appearances. And of course, I utilized a lot of social media."

As the state's agricultural ambassador, she was often asked by others how they could support local farmers who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. That, too, provided Abigail opportunities to educate consumers.

"Thanks to all the media coverage, a lot of people wanted to know how they could help farmers in this difficult time," she said. "I encouraged them to look for products in their grocery stores that were made in Wisconsin so that their dollars would stay in the local community. Many of those items have the red Wisconsin icon or feature a 'Something Special from Wisconsin' seal."

When asked about her favorite memory during the past year she immediately reflected back on her time at the Wisconsin State Fair, which provided Martin an opportunity to connect with an urban audience that wanted to know more about where their food comes from. She was also proud to became a certified licensed Wisconsin cheese maker during her reign.

"When I was attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took part in the various dairy programs at Babcock Hall. That sparked my interest, so I pursued it even further after college and passed my exam this spring."

Being raised on a Registered Holstein farm, Abigail was excited to use her platform as Alice to educate others about the dairy industry. But she appreciated learning about all of the other fascist of the state's $100 billion agricultural sector, as well.

"I actually shared with many people that I, as Alice in Dairyland, am also learning more about agriculture everyday," she admitted. "I especially enjoyed learning about how important ginseng and cranberries are to our state--two commodities that I knew very little about."

Abigail will deliver her retiring address during a virtual ceremony on June 20 from Delavan, where her successor will also be named. She will stay on as an employee of the state through the end of July while the next Alice is being trained.

A native of Milton, Martin is a 2018 graduate of the UW-Madison with a degree in dairy science. She hopes to remain in Wisconsin and pursue a career in agriculture once her obligations are complete later this summer.

Wisconsin Ag Connection will post a link to the Alice in Dairyland Finale live webcast on the evening of June 20.

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