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December 11, 2023
by Ashley Hagenow
From the very night I was announced as the 76th Alice in Dairyland back in May, people told me how fast this year would fly by, and wow, were they right! My time as Alice is already about half over, which means it’s time to begin the process to find our 77th Alice in Dairyland.
The search for the next Alice begins in early January when applications become available. By Jan. 31, interested applicants must apply with a resume, cover letter, references, personal biography and application form. Qualified candidates will go through an individual interview Feb. 24.
Up to six Alice in Dairyland top candidates are selected and officially announced to the public at a press conference in March. Leading up to final interviews in May, the top candidates will receive industry and professional development training, as well as weekly assignments to earn an Alice in Dairyland Top Candidate Marketing Communications certificate presented by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Preparing for the role of Alice in Dairyland as a top candidate allowed me to expand my knowledge of Wisconsin’s diverse and abundant agriculture industry while building professional skills that I will take with me throughout my career, including skills in marketing, communication, education, public relations and public speaking. The journey as an Alice in Dairyland top candidate is designed to showcase what the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of Alice in Dairyland would be like if selected for the role, and I am so thankful for what I learned.
In early May, the candidates will travel to Door County, Wis., the host county of the 77th Alice in Dairyland finals. During the three-day finals event, candidates will take part in public outreach that includes press conferences, agribusiness tours, interviews with local media and delivering speeches. Based on scores from a panel of judges, the next Alice in Dairyland is selected and formally announced at the finale ceremony.
In the first half of my year as Alice in Dairyland, I have made connections and memories to last a lifetime, all while promoting Wisconsin’s agriculture and its hardworking people. There is no other experience quite like serving as Alice, and every day I am reminded of why I do what I do, and the important role Alice plays in sharing more about agriculture in our state and around the world.
On any given day, I am engaging with media outlets, teaching students about specialty crops, touring farms and agribusinesses, developing exciting media campaigns, meeting so many amazing people and enjoying delicious Wisconsin products, all while soaking in the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that result from serving in this unique role. I highly encourage you to apply for the 77th Alice in Dairyland position if this sounds like an opportunity right for you. The application will be available on DATCP’s website Jan. 2-31.
Whether you are a prospective candidate or a fan, I invite you to attend the 77th Alice in Dairyland finals, which will take place May 2-4 at the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Some elements of the finals are open to the public, including the final selection ceremony. After being selected, the 77th Alice in Dairyland will begin her term on July 8, serving as an agriculture spokesperson, and providing public relations and communication services for DATCP from its Madison headquarters for the contract year.
Hagenow is the 76th Alice in Dairyland.
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