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A salute to our dairy princesses

Carol Ann Gregg young dairy promoters
YOUNG DAIRY PROMOTERS: Dairy promoters come in all ages and sizes. Each age level shares its knowledge in a different way.
Farmhouse Window: As the growing season moves along, remember to watch for other vehicles and stay safe.

June Dairy Month reminds us to have our “three dairy a day” several times over.

Whether it is dairy promotion at the supermarket or at the local event to choose the next county dairy princess, the message is clear: Dairy is important in our diets, not just for kids.

As a teenager, I first learned about the county dairy princess program while attending a statewide 4-H event. I was rooming with our county’s dairy princess, and I was very impressed at the time. She was very pretty and very poised for a teenager. She knew her dairy, but back then the program was just getting started.

Since then, I have gotten acquainted with many of our county and state dairy royalty, and am always amazed at their knowledge of dairy products and this complicated business we call the dairy industry.

Our county has developed its dairy promotion program to include girls from the age of 5 through their teenage years. At the annual pageant, the little ones sing a song created to celebrate dairy to the tune of some nursery rhyme, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Dressed in their Sunday finest, they become a choir of dairy promoters.

dairy princess Josie Canon whips up a pumpkin milkshake

BRING OUT THE BLENDER: During an interview in 2017, dairy princess Josie Canon whips up a pumpkin milkshake to share a dairy snack.

At each successive age level, the challenge for the participants becomes harder. They develop skits and speeches, and those older than 16 take on the challenge of becoming the county dairy princess.

Many of these teens have been participating since early grade school. They have watched and learned, and grown as dairy promoters. Throughout the year, they are riding floats in parades, scooping ice cream at fairs and presenting milk toasts to open farm meetings.

Most of the dairy princesses find that their favorite activity is making school presentations. The hope is that these young minds get the message that dairy products are not only good for them, but also taste good, too.

They will tell you that it is cool when the students ask them about what it is like to be a princess.

Joselyn Snyder crowned as dairy princess

LIFELONG DAIRY PROMOTER: Joselyn Snyder fulfills her dream of being the county dairy princess after being in the county dairy promotion program from the age of 5.

The area radio stations have been great about teaching the girls about making public service announcements. It must be exciting to be listening to your favorite radio station and then hear your own voice come on the air.

COVID-19 put a damper on the program last year. When it was possible, the girls shared their knowledge. They took their skills using social media as dairy ambassadors to ensure that the community remembered to have their “three dairy a day.”

Road safety

One thing the pandemic didn’t diminish was the need for farmers to do their jobs on and off the farm.

Every year, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau designates a week to rural road safety. This year, our local ambulance company, the local trauma unit at the hospital and four county farm bureaus partnered to put together a Rural Road Safety and Agriculture Awareness event. It took place in the ambulance building that includes a large garage and large classroom area.

The public was invited to the free, family-friendly event. There were 10 learning stations, including farm animals, and a scavenger hunt through the stations for kids.

Farm equipment continues to get larger and larger. It is very difficult for farmers to see the traffic that is coming up behind them. The public was made aware of the importance of slowing down when they see a slow-moving vehicle, or SMV, sign.

If one accident was prevented by this special event, it was worth the efforts of the many volunteers.

While you're out on the roads, remember that the state’s new Move Over Law goes into effect April 27.

Motorists in Pennsylvania can be fined and issued two points on their driver’s license for not moving into a lane away from a disabled vehicle or an emergency response area. Repeat offenders can get even steeper fines and a possible license suspension.

If your vehicle become disabled, it can be protected by the Move Over Law if you do two of these things:

  • Use four-way flashers.
  • Place caution signs, cones or other traffic markers around the disabled vehicle.
  • Light road flares.

Let’s keep this summer safe whether on the farm or on the highway. Don’t forget to enjoy your “three dairy a day.” And remember, one of those can be ice cream.

Thanks, Michigan reader

When I heard my phone ring in the kitchen one day, I didn’t hurry to answer. When I picked it up, there was an out-of-state number. Thinking it was another request to sell me a warrantee for my car, I deleted the number. I then received a voice message.

A reader from Michigan, Jim Farley, called to say that he enjoyed reading about my husband’s family history. He went on to explain that his family history was very similar and wondered if back in the 1860s members of our families may have known each other. They all came to the U.S. from Ireland.

A few days later, Mr. Farley called again. We had a great visit.

It was nice to have a reader comment on my story. Thank you, Mr. Farley, for taking time to give me a call.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

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