Herald Journal, Jan. 23, 2006
Princess Kay busy with appearances, full-time farm work
By Dave Cox
Formal dinners and public appearances may be a world away from Lester Prairie resident Becky Dammann’s full-time work on her uncle’s dairy farm, but she has found a way to keep up with all of these responsibilities.
Dammann was crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way last August, and serves as the official goodwill ambassador for Minnesota’s dairy industry.
Dammann said that she is the first Princess Kay since 1977 who has been a full-time farmer.
To begin her reign, Dammann attended the Minnesota State Fair with the other two McLeod County princesses, Tracy Nelson of Winthrop, and Lana Olson of Hutchinson.
She has visited several schools to promote dairy products and educate students about milk production, dairy farming, and the importance of dairy foods in their daily diets.
Sometimes, though, she has had to teach kids about Princess Kay, as much as about the dairy industry.
“Some of the kids ask if I live in a castle,” Dammann said.
She has to explain that she does not live in a castle, and that she lives in a regular house and works on a farm.
Some of the students remain skeptical.
“They tell me, ‘You can’t work on a farm; princesses don’t work on farms,’” Dammann said.
But this princess does work on a farm, and puts in some long days, starting at 3:30 in the morning. Her duties can be far from glamorous.
She trades evening dress for jeans and work boots, and feeds cows and calves, scrubs stalls, works in the maternity barn, and drives a truck.
She has learned that being a princess can be demanding, too.
“I never would have thought so, but it is hard being a princess,” Dammann joked.
In addition to school visits, Dammann has participated in radio broadcasts, parades, and the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association annual convention.
She has worked on two events with the Minnesota Vikings.
She writes a monthly column for the Dairy Star, a bi-weekly publication based in Sauk Centre, which is sent to all dairy farmers in the state.
Her calendar for the coming months is already filling up.
She will participate in a variety of expos, parades, banquets, and will speak at many events.
In order to make time to fulfill all of these commitments, Dammann plans to cut back to part-time work on the farm at the end of January.
After that, she will be appearing at two or three events each week.
The enthusiasm for the dairy industry that helped earn Dammann her crown is obvious as she talks about what she has been doing in her new role.
She has enjoyed traveling and talking to people about a subject that she loves.
“Paul Allen of KFAN radio has been a big help,” Dammann said.
She has particularly enjoyed meeting, “down-to-earth farm people” from around the region.
Her role is to promote the dairy industry and to educate others, but she has learned a lot along the way, too.
“It is the best internship I could have,” Dammann commented.
Her plans have changed during the months since she was crowned.
She now plans to attend South Dakota State University this fall.
She has not yet decided what she will major in, but it will be an agricultural program, related to the dairy industry, and Spanish.