“I’m so thankful and so honored to represent New York dairy farmers,” said Casey Porter of Jefferson County, as she was crowned and titled “2014-2015 New York State Dairy Princess” by American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. (ADADC). The 51st annual New York State Dairy Princess Coronation, was held Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY. Pageant emcee Dale Sweetland brought humor and laughter to a roomful of 368 people, mostly dairy farmers and their families.
The 22 county dairy princesses taking part in the pageant, including Porter, competed in a personal interview, an impromptu speech, a prepared adult-audience targeted speech, a dairy product knowledge test and a written communications exam. The pageant judges — Andy Orr (Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.), Judi Dixon (Dot Foods) and Charlene Yousey Wilcox (Vassar Brothers Medical Center) — evaluated contestants on communications skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality.
Of all the pageant contestants, Porter was the only one who had memorized her prepared speech and delivered it without notes. Her speech focused on producing food with more resources while lowering one’s carbon footprint. Porter, along with county dairy princesses Rachel Morgan (Cayuga County) and Lindsey Mc Mahon (Rensselaer County/newly crowned “1st Alternate”), were declared Speech Award winners, and received $100 each. In addition, as state dairy princess, Porter receives a $1,200 scholarship.
“After the pageant, I couldn’t look at my mother because she was crying,” said Porter. “My dad said, ‘I am so proud of you. You worked really hard for this.’”
Porter, a senior at South Jefferson Central School, is a member of FFA, 4-H, Junior Holstein, and the National Honor Society. She has served as the Jefferson County Dairy Princess since spring of 2013. As state dairy princess, Porter will devote an additional year to promoting milk and dairy products with ADADC, and represent ADADC at county pageants, farm meetings, and a variety of special events such as Dairy Day at the New York State Fair. Porter will help to spread messages of animal care, environmental stewardship and the importance of incorporating dairy as part of a healthy diet. In addition, she will help to train new county promoters at seminars and workshops.
After high school, Porter will attend Cornell University next fall where she’ll study animal science and agricultural business. She hopes to work in the dairy industry off the farm, specializing in genetics and nutrition, prior to returning to help run her family’s dairy, Porterdale Farms, in Adams Center.