On Wednesday, July 22, five remarkable young ladies from Genesee County, NY received the coveted crowns of their County Fair’s “Queen and Princess Pageant,” an annual event sponsored by the Genesee County Agricultural Society. Winners were Corinne Rhoads of Le Roy, NY; Sundae Duyssen, also of Le Roy; Ariana Cutcliffe, of Pembroke, NY; Emily Boldt, of Stafford, NY and Rebekah Allen, of Oakfield, NY.
Three out of the five — namely, Rebekah, Emily and Corinne — are Genesee County 4-H members.
There were a total of 20 contestants in the pageant, divided into five groups according to age: “Queen,” “Princess,” “Jr. Princess,” “Miss” and “Little Miss.” Pageant Coordinators Amanda Gallo and Renee Johnson were thrilled with the turnout and interest this year.
Each contestant was asked to deliver a short speech related to agriculture and its importance. Their insights reflected a variety of the agricultural industry’s many facets.
Queen Rebekah explained the impact of technology on farming and the changes it has brought in recent years. She also commented on the growing popularity of specialty dairy farms.
Many people hear the word “farming” and imagine antiquated images of old men in straw hats digging with hoes and pitchforks. Princess Emily, whose family owns S-B Farms in Stafford, focused her speech on the lively diversity of Genesee County agriculture, with a nod to the importance of the County Fair in offering the public a glimpse into this diversity.
Jr. Princess Ariana shed light of her own on the changing industry and its relation to technology and the local economy. She talked about her father, who is employed at O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc. in Batavia, NY. Owned by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America, O-AT-KA partners with customers in the dairy industry and elsewhere “to create innovative dairy based products” (from their “About Us — Guiding Values & Principles” page).
For Miss Sundae, of Duyssen Family Farm in Stafford, NY, it was personal. She uses a gastrointestinal tube for nourishment due to a medical condition, and her feeds are made from soybeans. This led her to deliver a speech on soybean farming in Genesee County, underscoring its importance by talking about how it affects her personally.
Last but not least, Little Miss Corinne offered perhaps the most to-the-point and convincing insight into local agriculture. When asked to share her thoughts on the matter, she had this to say:
“If we didn’t have the farmers that grow fresh, local produce, we wouldn’t have lots of food.”