By Crystal Siemers-Peterman
It is difficult to believe that my year as Wisconsin’s 70th Alice in Dairyland is already coming to an end. It feels as though it was just yesterday that I was standing on stage at Lambeau Field, heart beating out of my chest, listening for my name to be announced. After being announced as Alice, I remember making a promise to God that I would pour my enthusiasm, excitement and outgoing personality into every moment and interaction as Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador.
Since that night, I have been on the ride of a lifetime. For the past year, I have traveled thousands of miles across this state while promoting our farmers, agriculturists and agribusinesses.
The job of Alice in Dairyland is sometimes hard to put into words. As Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador, you are tasked with sharing messages about Wisconsin’s diverse ag industry. Sometimes you’re mingling with people at a dairy breakfast; other times you’re putting on a long dress for a dairy futurity show. Sometimes you’re holding a baby in a pig onesie for a picture, and sometimes you’re posing with an angry goose at the Wisconsin State Fair.
This job was sometimes far from glamorous. Whether it was having cow manure splashed on me at World Dairy Expo, picking mud from under my fingernails after digging my own root of ginseng, or wiping my makeup off at the end of the day and finding a layer of dirt on my face after harvesting potatoes, there was a new adventure every day that kept me on my toes.
Within all of the miles, moments and smiles, what I will remember the most from my year as the 70th Alice in Dairyland are the people I’ve met along the way. I had the privilege to learn and grow from the best in the business. After this year, I am walking away with many new friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
Some of my favorite memories are ones when I was able to have a one-on-one conversation with people of all walks of life. Each and every experience and interaction has left an impression on my heart. From listening to stories from the “good old days” told by previous generations to hearing the excitement of high schoolers hoping to continue their family legacies — it was then that I heard and felt the excitement, the passion, the pride for Wisconsin agriculture that you can’t put into numbers or rankings.
Thank you to the wonderful sponsors of the Alice in Dairyland program. With the help of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, I was able to share the story of Wisconsin’s $43.4 billion dairy industry in many fun and unique ways. Driving “Maizey” from the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board was always a great icebreaker to chatting about E85 and Wisconsin’s corn industry. Between the beautiful mink coat donated by the Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association and A&M Dittrich Mink Farm, and the iconic tiara and brooch from the Midwest Jewelers Association, an agricultural talking point was always on hand. Thanks to your generosity, this unique position will continue to reach more people and add significant recognition.
I have never felt more fulfilled, inspired and honored to be a part of Wisconsin agriculture than I do today. This past year I have experienced vulnerability, strengthened relationships with those around me and grown in my faith. I am humbled and honored that I have fulfilled my promise to God and America’s Dairyland.
As Wisconsin’s 70th Alice in Dairyland and as a sixth-generation farm kid, my adventure in Wisconsin agriculture has been incredible and unbelievable, and has forever impacted my life. To the Wisconsin agricultural community, thank you for this adventure of a lifetime.
Siemers-Peterman is the 70th Alice in Dairyland.