When I submitted my application for the 73rd Alice in Dairyland position in January 2020, I had no clue my time as Alice could turn into a two-year adventure.
The Alice in Dairyland program has been around since 1948 and turned into a full-time position in 1952 when Alice became an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Since then, Alices throughout the years have enjoyed a yearlong term representing Wisconsin agriculture.
When I submitted my application to compete for the 73rd Alice in Dairyland, no one had even heard of COVID-19. It wasn’t until the preliminaries and announcement of the top six Alice in Dairyland candidates that the word “pandemic” started to make an appearance in people’s vocabulary.
Adapting the role
When I started my term as Alice in Dairyland in July, I conducted all business virtually. My year serving Wisconsin as the 73rd Alice in Dairyland was very different than previous Alices, as many of them were able to attend in-person activities such as fairs, industry tours and events. Having to work from home, my year consisted of many virtual events and television interviews, and reaching Wisconsinites through social media.
While adapting the Alice position to a virtual audience was challenging, it allowed me to try new things on social media and make cooking videos using some of my favorite Wisconsin products.
Serving as Alice has allowed me to represent something so much bigger than myself. Agriculture has always been a part of my life, and I have understood its importance. As Alice, I have been able to explore the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture and gain even more experience and knowledge of its significance. Some of my favorite memories have been meeting many Wisconsin farmers and processors and filming a virtual farm tour on my family farm with the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
When I was selected as the 73rd Alice in Dairyland, I thought a new woman would be selected as the 74th Alice in Dairyland in May 2021. In December, the decision was made to cancel the 74th Alice in Dairyland Finals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was asked if I would stay on an additional year. My one-year adventure suddenly turned into two!
Going into the 74th year of the Alice in Dairyland program, I am especially looking forward to attending events like June Dairy Month celebrations and breakfasts, the Wisconsin State Fair, World Dairy Expo, and more. I also look forward to continuing to learn from Wisconsin farmers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to hold the title for two years.
Nunes is the 74th Wisconsin Alice in Dairyland.