2020 Oneida County Dairy Princess crownedThe Oneida County Dairy Promotion Committee members celebrated the start of June Dairy Month with the coronation of a brand new princess who will be busy sharing the goodness of dairy message over the next year. This year, the coronation was held virtually, with 2019 Oneida County Princess Tamar Mooney and incoming 2020 Oneida County Princess Alyssa Buck giving their speeches together in the presence of their family (they are step-sisters). The rest of the court members, guests and committee members, along with 2020 New York State Dairy Princess Natalie Vernon, watched on screens across Central New York.

Glasses of milk were raised to make a toast to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the 2019-20 Dairy Court and to welcome the new and returning members of the 2020-21 court.

The new princess, Alyssa Buck, is the daughter of Amy and Ronnie Buck of Rome, NY; outgoing 2019 Oneida County Dairy Princess Tamar Mooney is the daughter of Toni Mooney of Holland Patent and Amy and Ronnie Buck. Alyssa is a junior at Westmoreland High School and is involved in many clubs and activities including 4-H. This is her second year being involved with dairy promotion in Oneida County.

Other court members who will support and assist the new princess at various events around the county over the next year were also present in the virtual celebration. Shelby Carrigan, daughter of Geraldine and John Carrigan of Marcy, NY, will continue this year as an alternate princess in her second year of dairy promotion participation. She is a senior attending Utica College and wants to help in any way she can with dairy promotion as a future teacher. Tamar Mooney, a graduating senior of Holland Patent High School, will participate this year in her second year of dairy promotion as an alternate princess as well. Also returning for the year as Ambassadors are Priscilla “Ella” Larry of Rome in her eighth year of dairy promotion – she loves living on a dairy farm, telling people about the “healthy product we provide and cheese”; Alyssa Storms of Ava, who is in her second year of dairy promotion and wants to promote farming, agriculture and milk; and Jalayna Fox of Stittville in her third year of dairy promotion, who loves being around the princess to help her promote dairy products.

Joining the court this year are Brynnlee Holbert of Clayville, who loves showing her cows, working in the barn and drinking chocolate milk; Jacob Buck of Rome, who wants to help his sisters promote the dairy industry and tell people how nutritious milk is; and Trent Fox of Stittville, who is very excited to be part of the court and to help his sister promote dairy products.

Alyssa used her knowledge of dairy nutrients and presentation skills to win the crown. She gave her speech on the topic of proper nutrition and the benefits of milk consumption for people of all ages because it is a nutritional powerhouse. She said as a Dairy Princess it is her “priority to educate the public on the care farmers take of their cattle, the sustainability of their land and the nutrients found in milk.” In her speech, she discussed the nine essential nutrients in dairy milk – the 3 Ps (protein, potassium, phosphorus), the 3 Vs (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12) and NRC (niacin, riboflavin and calcium). She said, “As Dairy Princess, I look forward to educating the public on the benefits of the nine essential nutrients and why it is important to their health. Milk is one of the healthiest drinks available, yet only 58% of Americans consume dairy… My goal is to raise that percentage in our county and get more dairy products into homes.” She plans to do outreach to schools while children are learning at home by sending educational materials and video files to local schools so teachers can share the dairy education messages with their classes online.

She stated, “These days, people are making fewer trips to the grocery store. It is very important that when they do get out to buy groceries that dairy products are part of the meal plan and on the shopping list.” Additionally, she presented her school program that she could present in an elementary classroom or share via a video recording to the attending audience, and had to provide an impromptu answer to a question read by Mary Burkert, longtime dairy promotion committee member, about the need and current relevance for dairy promotion.