By Kristen Miller
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN - Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Senior Jillian Koch is one of the candidates for this year’s Wright County dairy princess Coronation Saturday, March 28 in Buffalo.
Koch is the daughter of Jeff and Janell Koch of Winsted.
This year, there are three candidates for Wright County dairy princess coronation including, Krista Nelson, daughter of Mike and Sue Nelson of Cokato; Kelsey Kolles, daughter of Mark and JoAnn Kolles of Elk River, and Koch.
Kolles is currently one of the Wright County dairy princesses, and is running for her third time.
This year’s Wright County Dairy Banquet will be at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo.
The banquet will begin with a social hour at 7 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m., with the coronation following.
Princess coordinators are Stacy Spurzem of Cokato, and Mary Lindberg of Kimball.
The banquet will have a Hawaiian theme this year, and guests are encouraged to come dressed in their best Hawaiian wear. Prizes will be given for the best dressed.
Tickets for the banquet are $10 and can be purchased at the door.
The following are individual biographies of the candidates, explaining a little bit about who they are, what they do, and why they want to be a Wright County dairy princess.Jillian Koch
Koch wants to be a Wright County dairy princess because she has had the opportunity to assist with Dairy Darlings at the Wright County Fair and Little Farm Hands and Moo Booth at the Minnesota State Fair.
“It brings me great satisfaction to inform the public about the dairy industry and I would like to continue that by becoming a dairy princess,” Koch said.
There are 110 cows total, but at this time, 95 are milking where Koch works, including Holsteins, Jerseys, and Ayrshires, with 650 tillable acres.
Some of her responsibilities are bottle feeding and pail feeding calves that drink milk replacer until they are about eight weeks old, or about 150 pounds.
After feeding, she sanitizes the buckets and bottles and also feeds grain and hay to calves until they are between eight and nine months old, or between 300 pounds and 400 pounds, when feeding is done, she brings in sawdust for bedding, and hay into the calf barns.
Koch’s favorite dairy product is milk, because it is a good source of vitamins and calcium and helps build strong muscles and bones, she said.
Koch is involved in 4-H and FFA and through these two organizations, she shows cattle that she and her brother own, competing at the Wright County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair.
Koch is also involved as the manager for the HLWW High School wrestling team and when she is not busy with these activities, she likes to read, draw, scrapbook, and spend time with her family.
In the fall, Koch is planning to attend Ridgewater College in Willmar and take classes for an agriculture education degree for the first two years then transfer to the University of Minnesota or South Dakota State University to finish up her degree.
Nelson is majoring in business management and accounting at the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
She wants to be a Wright County dairy princess so she can help support and promote the dairy farmers of Wright County and the dairy industry as a whole, Nelson said.
Currently, Nelson works on the Glessing family farm, where there are 72 Holsteins being milked, with about 500 acres farmed.
Some of her responsibilities include caring for show animals, grooming, leading, and preparing animals to show at the regional show, county fair, and state fair.
Also, she helps in feeding the animals and keeping up the overall cleanliness of their pens.
Her favorite dairy product is milk. “Because it is the beginning of so many great products and it’s also great by itself,” she said.
During the school year, Nelson helps with the dairy products competition at her school’s Ag Activities Day, the UMC Dairy Club, and the Sportsmen’s Club.
In her free time, she enjoys showing cows, learning to speak French, taking pictures, and cooking.
Kolles is currently attending Anoka Ramsey Community College, taking her general classes, and hopes to transfer to the University of Minnesota in the next year
“I want to be a Wright County dairy princess to better educate the public about the dairy industry because the dairy industry is so important to everyone,” Kolles said. She also wants to learn from the public to better educate herself, she said.
Kolles lives on a 250-acre farm with 65 Holsteins.
Her responsibilities include milking, feeding calves, and any other tasks that need to be done, she said.
Her favorite dairy product is ice cream because there are so many different flavors and it’s good in the winter, and even better in the summer, Kolles said.
She is a volunteer in 4-H, and also likes to sew and scrapbook as a hobby.
In her future, Kolles plans to attend the University of Minnesota and receive a degree in agriculture, and to have a successful career. She also hopes to one day to have a family and teach her children the importance of the dairy industry and what farmers do, she said.