Wisconsin is one step closer to selecting its next agricultural ambassador. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced the finalists for the 66th Alice in Dairyland position at a press conference in Calumet County.
"Wisconsin's agricultural ambassador, Alice in Dairyland, plays an important role in educating consumers of all ages and backgrounds on the significance of Wisconsin agriculture," said Rochelle Ripp, the 65th Alice in Dairyland. "These finalists will encourage residents to support our state's farmers, agribusinesses and Wisconsin way of life by buying Wisconsin products, keeping that money in our communities and economy."
The finalists for the 66th Alice in Dairyland position are:
*Beth Babcock, Wisconsin Dells, is a substitute teacher and works on her family's beef farm. Babcock graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in December 2012 with certification to teach agriculture and technology education. She student taught at Mauston High School. Babcock was a summer intern for Sauk County 4-H in 2012. During college, Babcock was involved in Collegiate FFA, Sigma Alpha and Agri-Ambassadors. She also held numerous positions in the residence halls. Babcock served as the Adams County Fairest of the Fair in 2010. While in high school, Babcock was active in Adams County 4-H and the Wisconsin Dells FFA.
Marie Mahaney, Milwaukee, is a graduate student at Concordia University pursuing a Masters of Public Health degree and will continue her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated with honors in 2012 from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with degrees in animal science and nutrition. Mahaney served as the 2007 Wisconsin State FFA Reporter, was chosen as a National FFA Officer Candidate and was named first runner-up for the Miss Wisconsin Organization. She participated in the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Institute course. Mahaney grew up on her family's beef and sheep farm in Brodhead.
*Kristin (Natzke) Olson, Windsor, is the dairy advertising coordinator at Accelerated Genetics. A native of Fond du Lac, Olson grew up showing dairy cattle with her family's small show herd, Crestbrooke Holsteins and Jerseys. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with a life sciences communications degree. During college, Olson held leadership roles in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club and the National Agri-Marketing Association, and was the 2007 Fond du Lac County Fairest of the Fair. Additionally, she interned with the Wisconsin House of Moo, Accelerated Genetics and UW-Madison Dairy Science Department. Olson remains active in several industry organizations.
*Tammy Wiedenbeck, Lancaster, works for Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association and is a graphic designer at The Midwest Herdsman. She graduated with high honors from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2012 with a degree in animal science and minor in communications. While in college, Wiedenbeck participated in Block and Bridle Club and Pioneer Dairy Club, as well as numerous honor societies and intramural sports. Wiedenbeck grew up on her family's beef, hog and cash crop farm and was active in her FFA chapter and 4-H club. She currently serves as a Grant County Cattlemen's Association board member and is a lifetime member of the Lancaster FFA Alumni.
Alice in Dairyland is a public relations professional. She spends one year educating students, speaking at community events and completing media interviews to promote Wisconsin's $59 billion agriculture industry. To be named a finalist, these women submitted an application in January and had a preliminary interview in February.
The 66th Alice in Dairyland will be selected during the three day Finals, May 8-10, in Calumet County. Selection criteria includes: a personal interview, mock radio and television interviews, a writing exercise, an impromptu question and answer session, speeches and professionalism. The 66th Alice in Dairyland will begin her duties on June 3.
The public is invited to attend the Finale Banquet and Program in Brillion on Friday, May 10. Event details are available at aliceindairyland.com.