70th Alice In Dairyland Candidates Present Strong Field of Knowledge/Passion

NOTE:  We have posted a Facebook Live video from the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, where the candidates were introduced.  Got to “Fabulous Farm Babe” on Facebook and watch!


Six top candidates for the 70th Alice in Dairyland were announced today,
a key step in the process of selecting Wisconsins next agricultural ambassador.

The six top candidates were announced at a press conference held at the Neville
Public Museum in Green Bay. Following an extensive interview process, the next Alice
in Dairyland will be selected from among the six candidates at the conclusion of the
Alice in Dairyland Finals Program, May 11-13 in Brown County.

The Alice in Dairyland program has a strong history of promoting Wisconsins diverse
agriculture industry, which now has a more than $88 billion impact on Wisconsins
economy, said Ann OLeary, 69thAlice in Dairyland. One of these finalists will carry
on the tradition of traveling the state to teach audiences of urban and rural
backgrounds about the importance of Wisconsin agriculture.”

Over the next two months, the six candidates will participate in a rigorous
interview process that will allow them to showcase communications and public
relations skills required to be the next Alice in Dairyland. Although only one of
the top candidates ultimately will be selected as the next Alice in Dairyland, the
personal growth experienced by all of the candidates as result of the process will
carry far into their future careers.

The candidates are:

*Abrielle Backhaus, Kewaskum*, was raised on Kettle Aire Acres dairy farm with her
parents and two brothers. Washington County 4-H and FFA offered her many
opportunities for communication and travel. She also took on many leadership roles
within each organization. In 2016, with a journalism degree from the University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater in hand, a background in the agriculture industry and a strong
passion to share industry knowledge through publication, she joined the Agri-View
newspaper staff as an assistant editor. In her free time she enjoys hiking, baking,
crafting and spending time with family.

Every day we learn something new, especially in the constantly evolving agriculture
industry. As an ambassador for Wisconsins agriculture, my goal is to share the
stories of those who work daily to make the $88.3 billion agriculture industry so
strong. I want to educate and encourage consumers to know the diverse faces of its
producers and agriculturists, and that the Wisconsin agriculture industry continues
to evolve and strive for healthy and happy future generations.

*Jenna Crayton, Oak Creek,* grew up on the last family-owned and operated dairy farm
in Milwaukee County. Along with dairy cattle, her family also owns a flock of
commercial-type show lambs. She was heavily involved in the Racine County 4-H
program, where she served as a junior member, 4-H Ambassador, and sheep leader for
the Tucker 4-H Club. Along with 4-H, she also served as the 2013 Racine County
Fairest of the Fair, and 2010 Racine County Farm Bureau Ambassador. Craytons passion
for agriculture led her to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where
in May, 2015 she obtained a bachelor of arts in communication with a double emphasis
in interpersonal organizations and public relations, while minoring in business
administration. Currently, she is continuing her education at Texas Tech University,
where she is an agricultural communications masters student and a Texas Tech
University student housing graduate assistant for Residence Education and Academic
Programs. In her spare time, she enjoys being the vice president of the Texas Tech
University Agricultural Education and Communications Graduate Organization,
crafting, and spending time with family.

As Alice in Dairyland, my goal will be to educate the public about Wisconsins
diverse $88.3 billion agriculture industry through its rich history and stories.
Through education I hope to bridge the gap between Wisconsins producers and
consumers to promote agricultural understanding and advocacy.

*Alexis Dunnum, Westby*, was raised on her familys fourth generation, organic beef
and crops farm in Wisconsins Driftless Region. Growing up, she was an active member
of the Nerison 4-H Club and the Westby FFA. Dunnum showed beef steers, swine, and
poultry each year at her county fair and served as the 2014 Vernon County Fairest of
the Fair. She is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
double-majoring in life science communications and Scandinavian studies and will
receive a certificate in environmental studies. In the spring of 2016, Dunnum
studied at the University of Southeast Norway and traveled the country independently
to interview farmers about sustainable agriculture. Upon her return to the U.S.,
Dunnum continues to spend her time as a member of Collegiate FFA, the Association of
Women in Agriculture, and playing trumpet in the UW Marching Band.

Wisconsins agricultural industry has supported generations of family farmers and has
become an integral part of our states identity, as well as my own. As the 70th Alice
in Dairyland, I will exemplify what Wisconsin agriculture has taught me and educate
people about our agricultural heritage and the opportunities that await the industry
in the future.

*Crystal Siemers-Peterman, Cleveland*, found her passion for Wisconsins diverse
agricultural industry on her familys registered Holstein dairy farm. She was
actively involved in the Manitowoc County Junior Holstein Association, Wisconsin
Junior Holstein Association, and Manitowoc County 4-H. Through these organizations,
she represented Wisconsin at national competitions in both dairy quiz bowl and dairy
judging. She will graduate this coming May from the University of Minnesota-Twin
Cities with a major in agricultural and food business management and a minor in
marketing. Previously, she interned at Sassy Cow Creamery, FLM+ Advertising Agency,
and Land OLakes Inc. On campus she is involved in the National Agri-marketing
Association, National Grocers Association, and Gopher Dairy Club.

As Alice in Dairyland, I will promote positive messages about Wisconsins
agricultural products to both rural and urban audiences. I will use my various
experiences, education, and outgoing personality to deliver consistent messages
about Wisconsins agriculture industry to diverse audiences.

*Kaitlyn Riley, Gays Mills*, is a multimedia journalist with WQOW News 18 in Eau
Claire. Riley returns home to her familys dairy farm on weekends, where her parents
milk 70 registered Jerseys. After graduating with honors from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 with a degree in strategic communications and broadcast
journalism, Riley served as the 48th Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs. Her passion for
the fair industry and agritourism came from years of showing cattle at the local,
state and national levels. During her collegiate career, she was involved in the
Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club. Riley continues to
promote agriculture and youth involvement as an active member of the Crawford County
Dairy Promotion Committee and the Northern Wisconsin State Fair Fairest of the Fair

As Alice in Dairyland, I hope to become a student and a teacher. I want to learn
from the many faces of Wisconsins diverse $88.3 billion agriculture industry and
share their stories with urban and rural audiences. No matter how many generations
people may be removed from the farm, my goal is to inspire all to return to their
agricultural roots and have a better understanding of food, fuel and fiber
production in Wisconsin.

*Kelly Wilfert, Two Rivers*, grew up on a 700-acre farm producing fresh market fruit
and vegetables, cash grain, and processing carrots. Wilfert was heavily involved
with her familys farm, as well as active in both 4-H and FFA. She will complete her
bachelors degree in life sciences communication and agricultural economics from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison in May. During her college experience, she served as
a Wisconsin State FFA Officer, worked as the American Farm Bureaus Public Policy
intern, and finished in the top four for the American Farm Bureaus Collegiate
Discussion Meet. She also volunteers for the Wisconsin Agricultural Education
Centers Exhibit Development Committee. Wilfert hopes to continue to spread the
positive message of Wisconsin agriculture as Alice in Dairyland.

My lifelong goal is to help bridge the gap between producers and consumers in
Wisconsin agriculture. Every job in Wisconsin agriculture supports 1.46 jobs
elsewhere in the state, bringing us all together around the dinner table. Coming
from within the agricultural community, it would be an honor to serve as Wisconsins
agricultural ambassador and share the immense impact of our industry with people of
all ages and backgrounds.

Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time public relations position with the
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The
official start date for the 70th Alice in Dairyland is June 5, 2017.

In this highly visible and fast-paced position, Alice in Dairyland travels
throughout the state teaching rural and urban audiences of all ages about Wisconsins
extensive agricultural industry. In the position, Alice in Dairyland cultivates
relationships with television, radio and print media outlets; writes and delivers
speeches; and utilizes social media to tell the stories of Wisconsin agriculture.
Additional duties include developing and executing marketing plans, delivering
classroom presentations, and networking with industry professionals.

Each year, a different Wisconsin County hosts the Alice in Dairyland interview
activities, with Brown County serving as the host county this year. The 70th Alice
in Dairyland will be selected at the conclusion of the three-day finals program, May

The public is welcome to attend three public events during the Finals in Brown
County in May:

* Candidate Discussion Panel Dinner, Friday, May 12, Green Bay Botanical Garden,
Green Bay; 5 p.m., Social Hour; 6 p.m., Meal and Observe Discussion ($15);
* 70thth Alice Finale Banquet & Selection of the 70th Alice in Dairyland,
Saturday, May 13, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, 5 p.m. Social Hour; 6:30 p.m., Dinner;
7:30 p.m., Finale Program and Dessert Social including Live Music at 9 p.m.($30);
* 70thth Alice Finale Program Only, Saturday, May 13, Lambeau Field, Green Bay,
7:30 p.m., ($15).

For all event information and ticket sales, visit aliceindairyland.com