By Jennifer Kotila
WAVERLY, MN When Seena Glessing took a leave of absence from her full-time teaching position at Dassel-Cokato High School last year, it was not something she expected to be permanent.
Glessing, who had been an agricultural teacher at DC for 10 years, had taken the leave because she and her husband, Dan, had been selected to be on the American Farm Bureau Association’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.
Being on the committee involved some travel and obligations that made it difficult to continue teaching full time while helping on the farm and raising a family.
The Glessings are raising the fifth generation of dairy farmers on a family dairy farm just southeast of Howard Lake.
They farm with Dan’s father, Allen, and have three boys, all under 6 years old.
“At first it was hard for me to step back from the FFA program that I had put so much time into, but other doors just seemed to open up and come about,” Glessing said.
One door that opened for Glessing was at the Midwest Dairy Association (MDA). She became the princess consultant Jan. 1.
When Glessing first heard last June that the former princess consultant, Char Hovland, would be retiring at the end of the year, she thought, “Oh, I might like that.”
“It fits into what our family needs are right now,” Glessing said, “plus I will be working in the dairy industry while still using my educational background.”
Since most of the work of a dairy princess consultant is done from home, Glessing is able to spend more time with her family, as well as helping more on the farm.
The Glessings have 75 milk cows, raise market steers, and farm about 600 acres of soybeans, corn, and alfalfa.
Glessing milks every morning and most evenings, and teaches a few agricultural classes at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School in the afternoons.
“Everything that happened last year, happened for a reason,” Glessing said. “Now, I get a little dose of everything, while being able to be with my family more.”
As the MDA’s princess consultant, Glessing coordinates the state dairy princess competition for North and South Dakota and Minnesota.
She is responsible for scheduling events, activities, hotel rooms, judges, and providing training and oversight for the three state princesses.
Helping the princesses to develop skills to help consumers understand more about the value of dairy foods and the way they are produced is one of the most important responsibilities for Glessing.
“I look forward to being able to provide opportunities for the young women in the dairy princess program,” Glessing said. “They develop leadership, communication, and people skills that are great benefits they need when building their own careers.”
Glessing is also excited to be able to promote the dairy industry, which she has been a part of her whole life.
One of her goals as dairy princess coordinator is to schedule more classroom visits where the princesses can speak about the dairy industry and the importance of dairy products for a healthy diet.
“We see a lot of youth making food choices, and not necessarily good ones. The girls can help educate them on why it is so important,” Glessing said
Glessing’s dairy background
Glessing grew up on a small dairy farm in Springfield. Her parents, Martin and Mary Larson, milked about 25 cows on their century farm while Glessing grew up.
When she was young, she accompanied her mother to give classroom presentations about the dairy industry.
While in 4-H, Glessing participated in the dairy quiz bowl and judging teams, and was also a 4-H ambassador.
Glessing was the Redwood County dairy princess in 1996 and 1998. In 1999, she was the Region 9 dairy princess and had her head carved in butter at the Minnesota State Fair.
After graduating high school in 1996, Glessing attended SD State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. She also has a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University.
Glessing met Dan while establishing an FFA alumni chapter at Dassel-Cokato, and he was the president of HLWW’s alumni chapter. They married in 2003.
“Dan and I are passionate about dairy farming; it is a lifestyle choice,” Glessing said. “We spend our family time turning the radio up in the barn and dancing, and the boys ride their toy tractors up and down the barn aisles while we milk.”