Farm Horizons, June 2012

Four of the 12 Princess Kay finalists are local gals

By Starrla Cray

As farm girls from McLeod and Carver counties, Valerie Grimm, Elizabeth Nix, Victoria Haler, and Kelsey Buss have always shared a passion for the dairy industry.

Now, they also share the title of 2012 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist.

“I am honored to represent the dairy farmers of Minnesota, and hope to make them proud,” noted Victoria, 18, the daughter of Rick Haler and Connie Haasken of Waconia.

Each May, about 100 county dairy princesses throughout Minnesota attend a weekend princess training seminar, where they prepare to serve as ambassadors for the dairy industry.

Throughout the session, many princesses are judged in a personal interview, mock media interview, and prepared speech. On the last day, 12 of them are selected as Princess Kay finalists.

Having four finalists from Carver and McLeod counties speaks of the dedication to dairy in the area.

“I was most interested in becoming a dairy princess because I wanted to represent the hard-working dairy farmers of Carver County, and to promote the dairy products that I love,” noted Valerie, 18, the daughter of Joel and Barb Grimm of Waconia.

“I’m really excited to be able to tell my story about my dairy farm,” added Elizabeth, 21, the daughter of Tim and Ann Nix of Plato.

This is Elizabeth’s fourth year, and Kelsey’s third year, as dairy princesses representing McLeod County.

“A lot of people don’t understand what it takes for dairy farmers to produce milk. It’s fun to be able to go out and share your story about what you’re doing,” said Kelsey, 21, the daughter of Kevin and Lori Buss of Hutchinson.

This year, all four girls will have the opportunity to share that message at the state level.

The 12 finalists take on public relations roles at the Minnesota State Fair, and one of them is crowned Princess Kay the night before the fair opens.

“I hope that I can share every farmer’s story across the state, and raise consumer awareness of how important dairy is in our society and in our diets,” Victoria noted. “I am looking forward to spending the summer with a great group of princesses in my county and finalists.”

Victoria and Valerie are both 2012 graduates of Waconia High School.

In the fall, Victoria plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to major in international studies and Spanish, with a minor in international business.

Valerie is looking forward to attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, to study health care.

Both girls said one of their favorite chores is caring for newborn calves.

The McLeod County princesses also enjoy helping with their family farms.

“We do everything together as a family,” said Elizabeth, whose siblings include Joe, Shannon, and Andrew.

Elizabeth will intern at KDUZ/KARP radio in Hutchinson this summer. She’ll be a senior at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall this fall, majoring in communications with a double emphasis in radio/TV and public relations, with a minor in marketing.

Kelsey is a 2012 graduate of Ridgewater College in Willmar, with a degree in dairy management. She plans to run the family farm with her dad, and eventually become the owner.

“I do chores every day,” Kelsey said. “I feed and milk cows and I help with our farm’s reproduction system.”

Kelsey, Elizabeth, Valerie, and Victoria – along with the other finalists – will have their likenesses sculpted in butter at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair.

Other finalists are Meg Hintzen, 21, representing Douglas County, daughter of Leonard and Jodi Hintzen of Carlos; Kirsten Meier, 19, representing Stearns County, daughter of Vernon and Michelle Meier of Watkins; Laura Mesenburg, 19, representing Olmsted County, daughter of Dan and Amy Mesenburg of Byron; Kelsey Mussman, 19, representing Steele County, daughter of Mike and Julie Mussman of Claremont; Christine Reitsma, 17, representing Stearns County, daughter of Paul and Carolyn Reitsma of Sauk Centre; Laura Rosenhammer, 20, representing Brown County, daughter of John and Patty Rosenhammer of Sleepy Eye; Aly Schwartau, 19, representing Goodhue county, daughter of David and Jane Schwartau of Red Wing;  and Maggie Stiles, 18, representing Dakota County, daughter of Mike and Tina Stiles of Lakeville.

To learn more about Princess Kay or the dairy industry, go to www.midwestdairy.com.

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