by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
Jennifer Keehan, of Fultonville, NY was selected to represent Montgomery County’s Dairy Promotion Team as their newest Dairy Princess.
“I am so excited to be the 2018-2019 Montgomery County Dairy Princess!” remarked Keehan.
Keehan, who will be a senior at Fonda – Fultonville Central School next fall, says her first exposure to dairy cows was on her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in Fulton County, where she spent her childhood summers.
“That is where I got my love of dairy cows,” she said. “I always enjoyed being in the barns and working with young calves. When I was six years old, I showed my first calf named Declair in the peewee showmanship at the Fonda Fair. I finally bought my first Brown Swiss calf named Almond Joy when I was nine.”
Keehan now owns six Brown Swiss cows that she says she loves to show.
“My plan is to expand our Dairy Princess program by bringing in some younger girls into the court so that they will continue in the program.”
Keehan, who has been an active Montgomery County Dairy Ambassador for 4 years, is already out educating youngsters in her new role as Dairy Princess.
After high school Keehan plans to attend a 4-year college program and then go on to a veterinarian school.
The second candidate for Dairy Princess position, Madison Dunbar, will act as Alternate Princess this year and has already been in Albany “celebrating Agriculture Day” and advocating dairy.
Tina Douglas, Herkimer County Dairy Promotion Chair, was one of three judges at the event.
“It was a tough job to narrow it down from two very qualified candidates,” commented Douglas. “As judges we look for the candidate that will communicate effectively, has knowledge of the industry and ability to develop leadership- and time-management skills.”
Douglas recognizes that the Dairy Princess Program is a true boost to the dairy industry.
“This program is important to the Montgomery County farmers, as well as the industry, because more people need to know that the farmers care about their animals, are good stewards of the land, and put their heart and soul into producing a nutritious product that has many healthy benefits. These youth are the spokespersons for the industry and while they are learning communication skills they are delivering an important message.”
Douglas credits Montgomery County Dairy Promotion Chair Terri Phillips and Judy Littrell for bringing the Dairy Princess program back together in the county.
“I’m excited to see them bringing back the active program,” remarked Douglas. “It takes a lot of volunteer time and I give Terri and Judy credit for putting the effort into it.”
Phillips is a 4th generation dairy farmer, Director for District 5 of the ADADC, and co-leader for the Kline Klimbers 4-H club. She says it’s important to educate consumers about dairy and that the Dairy Princess Program is an important way to reach consumers.
“I am very proud of the accomplishments that the committee and court has made in the last few years,” said Phillips. “Dairy promotion is very important to me, and I feel that if we are able to get out into the public, they will feel comfortable and start asking questions. We are five generations away from the public growing up on a farm, and the only thing that can bridge that gap is open communication.”
Phillips has also been instrumental in bringing the Dairy Promotion Program back to Fulton County.
“If you have someone between the ages of 8 to 25, and they are interested in dairy promotion, please call me,” Phillips said. “This is a statewide program so it doesn’t matter which county you live in, I can get you in contact with your local committee.”
The Dairy Princess Court and Dairy Promotion committee are excited to participate in a new event. Agriculture Night will take place at the Amsterdam Mohawks baseball game on June 29.
“Come out and join us for some family fun!”
For more information contact Terri Phillips at 518.887.5709.