Jill Makovec of Muscoda was selected as the state's 60th Alice in Dairyland tonight following three intense days of interviews and public appearances in Chippewa County. She was one of five final candidates for the public relations job that carries six decades of Wisconsin agricultural tradition.
"I am elated to be selected as Wisconsin's 60th Alice in Dairyland," said Makovec. "I look forward to serving as the state's agricultural ambassador for the year."
Her speech, "Country Mouse Meets City Mouse," highlighted the interdependence between urban and rural Wisconsin and helped clinch the job.
"I want to congratulate Ms. Makovec for her significant achievement in this highly competition selection process. All of these outstanding young women have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to Wisconsin agriculture," said Rod Nilsestuen, state Agriculture Secretary. "Agriculture is our heritage. It is also our future."
Makovec serves as a manager of education and information for AgSource. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, she earned her master's degree in Dairy Science and her bachelor's degree in Dairy Science and Agricultural Journalism. She grew up on her family's dairy farm, Lazy M Acres.
In 2002, Makovec served as Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs strengthening the profile of Wisconsin fairs. Makovec has also worked with Cows on the Concourse, Association of Women in Agriculture and Wisconsin Fairest of Fair committee.
Other Alice finalists were Brenda Cavanaugh, Prairie du Sac; Tolea Kamm-Peissig, Athens; Amanda Levzow, Rio; and Susan Orth, Fennimore.
Makovek assumed her duties on June 4 and is receiving a salary of $35,000, all travel expenses in completion of her duties as Alice and a jacket made from Wisconsin mink pelts from the Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association. In addition, she will use a 14K gold and platinum broach and tiara decorated with diamonds, citrines and amethysts. After her year of service, the tiara's pear-shaped amethyst is made into a pendant and is hers to keep.
Nicole Reese, the 59th Alice, completed her year on June 4, having logging more than 40,000 miles, visited 100 schools, made close to 300 appearances and rung up about $1.5 million in press coverage for Wisconsin agriculture.
"It has been a privilege to serve as the state's 59th Alice in Dairyland – an experience I will never forget," said Reese who will teach agriculture education at Milton High School in the fall and serve as an FFA advisor.
The 61th Alice in Dairyland will be selected next year in Sheyboygan County.