CRAWFORD COUNTY - The annual Crawford County Dairy Banquet gave way to an outdoor ceremony held on small stage at the Boscobel Farmer’s Market last Saturday. It was different, but it worked well.
The annual event is generally held at the Methodist Church in Eastman on a Sunday night and about 100 people attend.
This year due to concerns about the COVID-!9 pandemic and rules about the size of indoor gatherings the banquet was cancelled. Instead, the contestants for the 2020 Dairy Royalty positions gathered in Boscobel at 9 a.m. on a decidedly brisk June morning. The contestants wore summer dresses and shoes and seemed not to be bothered by the cooler weather.
“It won’t bother them,” a longtime organizer of the event said. “They’re farm girls.”
It seemed she was right. There was nothing but smiles from both the outgoing 2019 Crawford County Dairy Royalty and the newly minted 2020 Dairy Royalty.
Aside from the setting there was one other difference from past presentations of the contestants. There seemed to be a certain urgency in the message that reflects the tougher times the dairy farmers face now with lower prices and declining market share. This was particularly true of the speech given by the 2020 Crawford County Dairy Princess Kayla Beers.
The Independent-Scout reprints Ms. Beers’ speech here:
Hi, my name is Kayla Beers, and I live on our dairy farm outside of Steuben, Wisconsin. I attend Wauzeka-Steuben School where I will be a junior in high school in the fall. At school, I am involved in FFA and Science Club. I love living on a dairy farm for multiple reasons. The number one reason I enjoy where I live is I like watching the change of seasons and what the change of seasons brings on the farm. Each change of season brings new excitement but also struggles. I am the third generation living on our 872-acre farm, where we milk 77 cows and also do crops and beef.
I am running for Crawford County Dairy Princess because I want to educate the community on the importance of the dairy industry and the exciting things that agriculture has to offer. When it comes to the dairy industry, I am most interested in educating the younger generation. Many youth that do not live on the farm, do not know where their food comes from. I hope to someday be able to share my love of agriculture with youth by becoming a teacher. I think that being the Dairy Princess will help me jump start my desire to be involved in education.
The first thing that I would like to educate kids on is the importance of taking care of Mother Earth. Farmers take great pride in their land and take great care of it. Farmers know that they need to take care of the land, so the land will give back to them. Some ways that farmers protect Mother Earth are to recycle, rotate crops, and add nutrients back into the ground. Farmers are careful not to strip the land of the resources. Farmers know that these resources are valuable and they cannot provide for their animals without these resources. Farmers also know the importance of our rivers, lakes and streams. Farmers protect these waters by writing nutrient plans, no till and cover crops. At my house we joke that every day is Earth Day, because we are always looking out for Mother Earth. By paying attention to Mother Earth, we get to enjoy what the seasons give us as dairy farmers. The winter gives the land a time to rest. Spring gives the land new beginnings and new growth. Summer gives the land a chance to produce feed and the summer climate of rain and heat assist your crops. Fall gives the land time to harvest and prepare for rest. Dairy farmers cannot do their job without Mother Earth.
I would also like to educate the school age children that dairy farms are declining because lower milk prices resulting from larger supplies that outweigh the demand for product. An example of this is when restaurants closed during COVID-19, farmers were still producing, but restaurants were not selling as much product as pre-COVID lessening the demand for product and lowering the prices. Farmers try to increase their amount of product to make up for loss on products which only largens the supply.
Another reason farms are declining is the price they are paid for their product does not cover the cost it takes to produce the product. Farmers in my opinion are the only ones who produce a product and don’t get to name the price. They are at the mercy of a market setting the price for their product. This price at times does not even cover the cost of the production.
Dairy farmers’ suppliers set the price on their product. For example, soap is needed to clean your pipe line. The soap company sets the price to cover the ingredients and supply of the product and the manpower to make the product. The company then sets a price so they are able to cover their bills and make a profit. The farmers have to have the soap to clean their pipeline, so the milk is not contaminated. The soap company can set any price and the farmer has to buy it. They in return sell their milk to a company and the price has already been set by the federal government.
Farmers do not get a say in setting the price. I feel that people need to be educated on the fact that farmers do not set the price and they deserve to be paid a fair price. If the younger generation understands this, they can advocate for the farmers because without them the country would not get fed.
Farms are also declining because non-dairy companies are producing products that are dairy alternatives but are labeling them milk and cheese. They also are false advertising the benefits of their product by claiming to have the same benefits of dairy milk.
I also feel that young people need to know that it is not just cheese, milk, butter and ice cream that are dairy products. Dairy products are a part of hundreds of foods that people eat and drink. Young people need to know all the different ways that dairy is consumed to help them understand how important the dairy industry is.If I am chosen as the next Crawford County Dairy Princess, it will allow me to combine several of the things that I am passionate about. I am passionate about education and our younger generations, agriculture and the dairy industry. Being the Dairy Princess would allow me to combine all of these things. I am excited about this opportunity and promise to represent my county and the dairy industry to the best of my ability.
Miss Squirt speech
At her coronation ceremony at the Boscobel Farmers Market, Kylee Jelinek was made Crawford County Little Miss Squirt. Jelinek gave the following speech:
Hi, my name is Kylee Jelinek. I am 10 years old. I am going into fifth grade at North Crawford. My parents’ names are Brad and Melany Jelinek. I have two brothers, Brent and Beau, and two sisters, Darci and June. I like to play softball, basketball, read, ride horses, plant flowers and do gymnastics.
I live on a 300-head dairy goat farm near Gays Mills. We have a swing 16 parlor and milk 170 goats two times a day. We ship our milk to Saputo in Belmont and Lancaster, Wisconsin, where most of the milk is made into cheese. Blueberry vanilla is my favorite goat cheese.
My jobs on the farm are to help with milking and giving the goats medicine, filling up grain buckets, feeding the baby goats milk, grain, hay and water. I also chase the goats into the parlor to be milked and help my mom clean the barn after milking. As a toddler, I was caught eating the lime many times.
Our busiest time on the farm is in February, where we could have up to 20 baby goats born a day for two weeks straight!
Did you know an average goat produces six to eight pounds of milk a day and goat’s milk can be digested in less than 20 minutes? Goats have rectangular eyes.
Squirt Attendant speech
At her coronation ceremony at the Boscobel Farmers Market, Johanna Sime was made Crawford County Little Miss Squirt Attendant. Sime gave the following speech:
Hi, I’m Johanna Sime. But you can call me Jojo for short. I have six people in my family. My parents’ names are Chad and Sarah Sime. My siblings names are Carson, Rita and Mary.
I am going into third grade at Seneca Schools. I live on a dairy farm outside Mt. Sterling.
My two favorite dairy products are yogurt and ice cream. I like yogurt and ice cream because they have such a sweet flavor.
My favorite dairy breed is Brown Swiss. I like Brown Swiss because they have such cute and adorable eyes. My dad says they are tough, and their milk makes good cheese. My chores on the farm are feeding and watering the dog, feeding the calves and washing the buckets after the calves are fed.
My sister Mary and I bought a Holstein calf named Rosie. We own a 240-acre farm. We own 90 dairy cows, they are Holsteins, Brown Swiss and Jerseys.Our milk is made into cheese, and is mainly sold in Chipotle Mexican Restaurants. The milk from my family helps feed the world!