DAIRY ST R Special Edition
Celebrating 54 Years of South Dakota Dairy Princesses
Princess for a year...................... Pages 2-3 This year’s candidates................ Pages 4-5 53 years of South Dakota Dairy Princesses................................... Pages 6-7 photo by Jerry Nelson
Stephanie Nussbaum, 2008 South Dakota Dairy Princess, holds the halters of two of her favorite cows, Mikala, a Holstein and Bonnie, a Jersey, at her parents’ farm near Garretson. “Being Princess has been a wonderful experience, one that challenged me and made me even more passionate about our industry,” she said.
Promoting the goodness of real dairy products............................. Pages 8-9 Past South Dakota Dairy Princess relives experience through daughter.... Pages 9-10
Page 2 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
Princess for a year
Stephanie Nussbaum looks back on her reign as South Dakota Dairy Princess By Jerry Nelson Staff Writer GARRETSON, S.D. – Even though her main role was to educate people about the dairy industry, Stephanie Nussbaum has learned a number of things during her reign as the 2008 South Dakota Dairy Princess. “I learned that you should always bring an extra shirt when you’re attending an event that involves ice cream,” said the bubbly 19-year-old. “And that you need to know someone who can clean a sash in 24 hours. Also, you should always wear your hair up when you’re attending an outdoor event.” Nussbaum, the daughter of Brad and Monica Nussbaum, was crowned South Dakota’s 53rd Dairy Princess on March 18, 2008 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. She is a sophomore at SDSU and is majoring in dairy production with a minor in ag business. Another lesson Nussbaum learned regarded the challenges of communicating with people who ranged in age from preschoolers to the elderly, and with backgrounds that ran the
gamut from housewife to politician. “You have to train yourself to modulate the way you present things,” she said. “For instance, I was talking to a class of grade schoolers and trying to explain what a TMR is. I told them that a TMR is sort of like taking all the food on your dinner plate and mixing it together. One little boy’s eyes lit up and he exclaimed ‘I made a TMR today out of my mashed potatoes and beans.’” Nussbaum would explain to youngsters how the grain mix her parents feed to their herd contains a balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals. “I would relate to the kids how these same things are essential to their growth and general good health. Kids love it when you can relate things to their own experiences,” Nussbaum said. During her innumerable appearances as dairy princess, Nussbaum found herself fighting some preconceived notions regarding dairy products and the dairy industry. “People from the city often have a mental image of a
Stephanie Nussbaum put on a milk mustache contest during a recent Calcium Festival at Colman. Nussbaum had to relate with people who ranged from preschoolers to housewives to politicians during her innumerable appearances as 2008 South Dakota Dairy Princess.
cartoon cow that is very round and very fat,” she said. “When they see a real dairy cow up close, they sometimes ask why she is so skinny and how come they can see her ribs. I would explain that it’s because she’s a good cow who puts all her calories into producing milk. A high-producing dairy cow is just like a highly-trained athlete. “People are also generally unaware that not all dairy cows are Holsteins. They were surprised when I told them that dairy cattle come in a wide variety of colors.” At a June Dairy Month event at the Brookings Hy-Vee, Nussbaum was approached by an elderly woman from Delaware. “She asked if she could pet the cow we had on display,” Nussbaum said. “She came back a minute later and said ‘Can you believe how long her eyelashes are?’ She stayed at the event almost the entire day and eventually asked if she could milk the cow. I said of course. She then had a photo taken with her and me and the cow, which she turned into a greeting card.” Nussbaum continued on next page
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Nussbaum continued from previous page
Nussbaum said she received a few princess pointers from her aunt Becky Thyen, who served as South Dakota Dairy Princess in 1984. She also gleaned some tips from several former princesses. “You’re bound to run into former princesses when you attend all those dairy cattle shows,” said Nussbaum. “You feel an instant sisterhood with them. I got a lot of valuable advice from Katie Norling, Sarah Johnson and Jenna Mueller.” Perhaps one of Nussbaum’s most challenging events was a Calcium Festival held at Colman. “There were people there from every age group,” Nussbaum said. “The older folks tended to want dairy foods cooking tips, which I was glad to provide. Little kids, girls especially, would stop and ask if I was a real princess and if those were real diamonds in my crown. I also spoke with some high school students who are athletes. They were amazed at all the muscle-building components that are available in dairy foods.” Nussbaum’s reign was sprinkled with a number of open houses showcasing new or expanded dairy facilities. “It was great to work with the folks at Ag United for South Dakota. At the open houses, I had the opportunity to interact quite a bit with dairy producers. The non-Holstein producers were gratified to learn that I have a depth of knowledge regarding other breeds, including each breed’s milk components and so on.” Nussbaum’s dairy bona fides were recently challenged by an Elkton fifth-
grader who lives on a dairy farm. He didn’t quite believe that a princess would do some of the same chores that he does. “He asked what sort of things I do on my parents’ dairy farm,” she said. “So I told him what chores I do and went into detail about how I use the skid loader to clean the barn, then take the manure spreader out to the field. It made him smile when he learned that we do many of the same things.” Nussbaum’s promotional efforts often extended to the dairy princess program itself. “I’ve been telling prospective candidates about what a great honor and a huge opportunity it is to be dairy princess,” she said. “I think I’ve gotten several girls seriously interested in participating who hadn’t considered it before.” As she looks back on her reign as dairy princess, Nussbaum has advice for future princesses. “Always stay positive and have a smile on your face. If you can go to an event, by all means go. Don’t be afraid to be outgoing and start conversations. Blaze your own trail and get the message out,” Nussbaum said. Nussbaum said serving as dairy princess was a life-changing event. “It’s been a wonderful experience, one that challenged me and made me even more passionate about our industry. It’s been an honor to represent South Dakota’s dairy industry and to spread the word about the goodness of dairy products and the importance of Three-A-Day,” Nussbaum said.
South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 3
Stephanie Nussbaum got a helping hand from Kelly Ripp when she handed out awards at the Central Plains Open Holstein Show last June in Sioux Falls. During her reign as 2008 South Dakota Dairy Princess, Nussbaum made a concerted effort to recruit future princess candidates.
Producer workshops on PR, SpeakOut! and online advocacy offered Midwest Dairy Association is offering a free workshop for dairy producers leading up to the opening reception of the 2008 Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls on March 31 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The workshop, called Telling Your Story: Why Your Image and Actions Have Impact, will give producers a chance to receive training and resources to help them engage consumers online, get involved in speaking to local community groups or develop their own farm’s public relations plan. The day’s events begin with registration at 11:15 a.m. followed by a free lunch at 11:30 a.m. During lunch, a panel of speakers will share their
experience about the importance of dairy farmer image and actions. Presenters are: Ginger Post, a Volga, S.D., dairy producer who reaches out to community leaders through Midwest Dairy Association’s SpeakOut! program; Rodney and Dorothy Elliot of Drumgoon Dairy, Lake Norden, S.D., who have implemented a variety of public relations tools to gain acceptance of their dairy in their community; and Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice president of communications for the National Pork Board, who helped an Iowa pork operation rebuild its
credibility after undercover video that aired nationally called into question animal treatment practices. Participants can attend one of three breakout sessions from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., led by checkoff staff. In addition, the online workshop will feature Willetta McGhee-Wills, senior vice president and partner, FH Digital, Kansas City. She leads the team that is developing Midwest Dairy Association’s comprehensive social marketing plan. Workshop descriptions are as follows: Telling Your Story Online: exploring how to “tell your dairy story” in this new media
landscape and introducing a new program call myDairy; Connect with Your Community: helping each participant to develop their own public relations plan, from mission statement and tag line to ideas for community and neighbor outreach; and SpeakOut! with Local Leaders and the Media: joining the ranks of more than 150 dairy producers who receive tools, training and scheduling for presentations they can give to local community groups. To participate, e-mail info@midwestdairy. com or call 1-800-338-5160 to register.
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Page 4 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
2009 South Dakota
Dairy Princess Candidates South Dakota Dairy Princess Coronation & Banquet Sioux Falls Convention Center 1211 N West Ave- Sioux Falls, SD
Wednesday - April 1, 2009 - 6:30 p.m.
Meet the Candidates Danielle Dunn, 18
Stephanie Nussbaum 2008 South Dakota Dairy Princess! South Dakota Dairy Princess Coronation & Banquet Sioux Falls Convention Center 1211 N West Ave., Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, April 1, 2009 • 6:30 p.m.
Opening Remarks Presentation of Cheese Judging Contest Invocation Dinner
Presentation of Gift to Stephanie Nussbaum Address by current Dairy Princess
Rich Hansen Central Plains Dairy Expo Dr. Bob Baer – SDSU Dairy Judge
Stephanie Nussbaum 2008 SD Dairy Princess
Jim Neugebauer, Chair Midwest Dairy Association Stephanie Nussbaum
Presentation of Candidates J.P. Skelly Announcement of Miss Congeniality Announcement of 1st Runner Up
J.P. Skelly J.P. Skelly
Crowning of 2009 Dairy Princess Special thanks to:
• Stephanie Nussbaum • Midwest Dairy Association Staff: • Kathy Tonneson ~ Char Hovland – • Rich Hansen Princess Coordinator • Gustaf Greenery ~ Dawn Conrad – • Committee members of the Program Manager/ Central Plains Dairy Expo Nutrition • Parents, family & friends Communications – SD of princess candidates ~ Roger Scheibe – • Sponsors and Plant Director of Industry Representatives from: Outreach & IR for SD ~ DariConcepts of Pollock, SD ~ Brad Gronli – ~ Valley Queen Cheese IR Manager – MN of Milbank, SD ~ Donna Moenning – ~ AMPI VP, Industry Image & ~ Land O’Lakes Relations
Danielle Dunn, 18, of Vale SD, is the daughter of Daniel and Wanda Dunn. Danielle is a high school senior at Newell High School with plans to attend Mitchell Tech Institute in Mitchell, SD. Her major will be Culinary Arts/Dairy Management and Production. Activities include Green Hand Award in FFA, State FFA Dairy Cattle judging and placed first in the Parliamentary Procedure team. She has been active as a FFA Chapter officer, CYO, One Act plays, basketball, volleyball and band. Hobbies include reading, baking and collecting stuffed frogs.
Plant Representative: DairiConcepts of Pollock, SD District 1
Joni Martinmaas, 18 Joni Martinmaas, 18, Orient, SD, is the daughter of Rick Martinmaas and the late Janet Martinmaas.
Joni attends Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD majoring in nursing. She was in 4-H for six years, plays softball for Orient co-ed softball, volunteers in Faulkton’s 4th of July Rodeo, Spurs and the YMCA. She has participated in the all school play, one act play and oral interp. She lists her awards and activities as Grand Champion Dairy, Reserve Dairy Showmanship, Reserve Rabbit Showmanship, Best Poultry, Special Horse Award and received superior ratings in the many plays she has participated in. Hobbies include reading, cooking, spending time with friends and family, watching movies, riding horses and 4-wheelers and hunting.
Plant Representative: AMPI – Dawson, MN District 2
Kori Wieting, 20 Kori Wieting, 20, Milbank, SD, is the daughter of Loren & Marsha Wieting Kori is a graduate of Milbank High School and attends Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. She is majoring in elementary and special education. Activities include Student Senate Stipends, Student Senate President and Dairy Foods coach. She is also involved in Student Senate, Parking Committee, President’s Leadership Council, Technology Committee and Junior Holstein Association. Hobbies include hanging out with friends, reading and meeting new people.
Plant Representative: Valley Queen Cheese District 5
South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 5
Larissa Neugebauer, 18 Larissa Neugebauer, 18, Dimock, SD, is the daughter of Jim & Ellen Neugebauer
Brittany Hanten, 19
Brittany Hanten, 19, Goodwin, SD, is the daughter of Todd & Monica Hanten
Larissa will graduate this spring from Parkston High School with plans to attend SDSU in Brookings majoring in Dairy Science. Larissa has lettered four years in golf, received awards in FCCLA, band and DARE. She has been involved in TORCH, FFA, LYO, band, church choir, Sunday School teacher, volunteer for plays and assisted for many years at the princess contest with Midwest Dairy Association. Hobbies include golfing, playing various music instruments, scrapbooking, traveling, reading, spending time with friends and family and riding horses.
Brittany is a student at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD majoring in mathematics. She has been a junior and senior Snow Queen, listed in Who’s Who among American High School students; two-time Deuel High School Female Athlete of the Year, and senior class salutatorian. She has also been involved in basketball, volley ball, track, Key Club, National Honor Society, Teens Loving Christ and other numerous activities. At SDSU she is on the Jackrabbits women golf team. Hobbies include scrapbooking & crafts, ballet, tap and jazz dance.
Plant Representative: AMPI District 10
Plant Representative: Valley Queen District 6
Shelby Lunden, 17 Shelby Lunden, 17, Toronto, SD, is the daughter of Greg & Sherry Lunden
Ana Schweer, 19 Ana Schweer, 19, Watertown, SD, is the daughter of Randall and Diane Schweer
Shelby will graduate from Deubrook Area High School in White this spring and will then attends SDSU in Brookings majoring in Animal Science. Shelby has been a member of several dairy cattle judging teams throughout high school and placed at many local and state competitions. She also competed at the national 4-H contest at the World Dairy Expo. She has been very active in 4-H and FFA for several years and has held several officer positions in both organizations. She is also a competing member of the South Dakota Rodeo Association. Hobbies include 4-H and high school rodeo as she loves being around and working with horses. She competes in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. She also enjoys training, fitting and showing dairy cattle and judging dairy cattle for 4-H and FFA.
Ana is a graduate of Watertown High School and is presently a freshman at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD majoring in Dairy Production/Pre-veterinary Medicine. Ana lists many activities and organizations including 4-H Dairy Showmanship, Girls States where she held offices; 1st Chair Violin in her high school orchestra; 3-year participant of All-State Orchestra, National Honor Society and many other clubs and organizations. She is in the SDSU Civic Symphony, a member of the SDSU Dairy Club and Pre-veterinary Club and is pledging to Omega Chapter of Sigma Alpha of SDSU. Hobbies include playing violin, playing cards and board games, watching movies and working on the farm. She is talented at playing the violin, showing cattle, power lifting and holding leadership positions in clubs and organizations.
Plant Representative: AMPI District 6
Plant Representative: Land O’Lakes District 6
Natalie Thyen, 17 Natalie Thyen, 17, Waverly, SD, is the daughter of Dan & Becky Thyen
Amber Krogstad, 18 Amber Krogstad, 18, Baltic, SD, is the daughter of Ron & Kristi Krogstad
Natalie is a senior at Waverly South Shore High School with future plans to become a veterinary technician. She was involved in numerous high school activities including volleyball, basketball for which she served as captain; was homecoming queen, Codington County Jr. Snow Queen; received many awards in dairy showmanship, several 4-H awards and an honor roll student. She has held offices in the SD Jr. Holstein Association, a National Holstein Quiz bowl member and served as a volunteer for a number of dairy association projects in Codington County. Hobbies include basketball, volleyball, showing cows and horses.
Amber is a sophomore at the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, SD majoring in Elementary Education. When she was a student at Baltic High School, she was a 4-H officer, junior leaders, 4-H dairy shows, judging and open class, homecoming queen, Miss Sweetheart at FCCLA and FFA Valentine Dance. She was also involved as a cheerleader, participated in basketball and volley ball and at USF she is in track. She is also involved in National Youth Convention, Girls State, wellness committee, Drama in Action and FCCLSAS officer. Hobbies are running and working with children.
Plant Representative: AMPI District 6
Plant Representative: Land O’Lakes District 9
Page 6 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
53 Years of South Dakota 1955 Ruth Twombley Crawford St. Onge
1969 Joni Ytterness Beresford
1983 Dana Merrill Matthies Parker
1994 Pandianne Pittman Nisland
1956 1957 1958 Arlene Andrews Peggy Riggs Steffel Shirley Gustafson Mewing Spearfish Heier Claremont Clear Lake
1970 Kathleen Knutson Tucker Volga
1983 Kristine Bjorun
1995 Lynn Iverson Spomer Flandreau
1971 Kathy Krehbiel Hacking Freeman
1983 Pam Tiezen
1972 Gail Schroedermeier Strasser Davis
1983 Sandra Kott
1996 1997 Jennifer Fieber Heather Pinkert Zirbel Lieser Goodwin Big Stone City
1959 Marleen Smidt Sellevold Freeman
1961 1960 Lucille Lee Reed Jerrie Lea Oakes Hopf Arlington Sioux Falls
1973 Barbara Bolton Walder Colome
1984 Becky Dayton Thyen Stratford
1999 1998 Kristin Sharp Melissa Pinkert Wirt Johnson Big Stone City Bath
1974 Judy Tarrant Smith White Owl
1975 Pam Osness Burke
1985 Ronda Scharffenberg Rinehart Bridgwater
1986 Tamra Hanten Ching Bemis
2000 Stacy Mueller Campbell Big Stone City
2001 Ann Harvey Ree Heights
South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 7
Dairy Princesses 1962 Janet Anderson Melius Clear Lake
1963 Sharon Trautman Herrick
1976 Darlene Jongeling Warren Parker
1987 LeAndra Bietz Mogck Tripp
2002 Kayleen Chipman Meyers Huron
1964 Mary Myler Hoven
1965 Avis Larson Georgeson Hurley
1966 Jeannie Guthmiller Jennings Fairfax
1977 Chaundra Meyers Williams Veblen
1978 Marcia Friesen Hellevang Freeman
1979 Marla Uhrich Roscoe
1980 Lisa Berwald Abeler Toronto
1988 Lynn Trefz Johnson Onaka
1989 Londa Jensen Hexum Volga
1990 Jill Jorgenson Anderson Trent
1991 Laurie Rennick Koerner Harrisburg
2004 Sarah Johnson Sapp White
2005 Stephanie Vostad Mattson Volga
2003 Jennie Patrick White
2006 Jenna Mueller Buyck Big Stone City
1967 Jean Huls Rasmussen Salem
1981 Diane Lau Schweer Armour
1992 Becky Heggen Brandon
2007 Katie Norling Beresford
1968 Lola Sigdestad Klein Webster
1982 Mary Tschetter Chaney
1993 Lisa Feterl Muth Salem
2008 Stephanie Nussbaum Garretson
Page 8 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
Promoting the goodness of real dairy products
Thyen watches daughter follow in her footsteps By Jennifer Borash Staff writer WAVERLY, S.D. – When Becky Thyen entered the South Dakota Dairy Princess contest in 1984, she did not think she stood a chance against the other five girls. “My family had the smallest herd of all the contestants,” she said. But when she received the crown and sash – and the honor of representing the dairy farmers of South Dakota for a year – Thyen learned a valuable lesson. “I discovered it wasn’t the size of my herd that mattered, but how much I wanted to represent the industry,” she said. Thyen grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Stratford, S.D. Her family milked a herd of 30 registered Brown Swiss cows in a stanchion stall barn with a pipeline system. When she was named the 1984 South Dakota Dairy Princess, Thyen was proud to serve the industry that had been such a big part of her life. “I was excited,” Thyen said. “The Real Seal was our promotion at the time. That’s how we pushed the importance and goodness of dairy products.” Thyen said much of her year as a dairy princess was spent promoting dairy products and their nutritional benefits one-on-one to consumers through parades, radio interviews, farm shows and
she said the highlight of her year occurred during the 1984 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. “I was congratulating the winners of the Brown Swiss show,” she said. “Everyone was in traditional Swiss clothing and there was a yodeler. I got to help carry a huge cowbell from Switzerland into the arena, following the yodeler. I was just amazed at the quality of the animals around me. It was the highlight of my year.” Although her reign as the South Dakota Dairy Princess came to an end in 1985, Thyen’s passion for the dairy industry did not. She and her husband, Dan, now milk 120 cows on their farm near Waverly, S.D. – a mostly registered Holstein herd with a few Brown Swiss. “Even though our cows are mostly registered Holsteins, I’m still partial to my registered Swiss,” Thyen said. Becky, Dan, Dan’s mother, Clarice, and Dan’s brother, Jim, run the Thyen farm. Becky also works off the farm as a veterinary technician at the local vet clinic. Thyen continues to promote the dairy message wherever she goes, whether it is in her role as president of the District 6 American Dairy Association, as a member of AMPI and the AMPI Young Cooperators (YCs), when she and Dan served as assistant superintendents of the dairy barn at the South
Becky Thyen was named the 1984 South Dakota Dairy Princess. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Stratford, S.D. where they milked 30 registered Brown Swiss. the South Dakota State Fair – at which she also showed cattle. During her appearances, Thyen said she served up a lot of cheese and malts, and often handed out educational material. “I talked to a lot of people about the goodness of real dairy products,” Thyen said. “It was sometimes surprising how many people didn’t know where milk comes from.” Although Thyen enjoyed visiting with people of all ages and spreading the dairy message,
Today, Becky Thyen (center), continues to promote the dairy industry wherever she goes. She is president of the District 6 American Dairy Association and a member of the AMPI Young Cooperators. Thyen milks 120 cows near Waverly, S.D., with her husband, Dan, and children, from left, Nathan, Natalie, Andrew and Alex. Dakota State Fair, or in reaching out to the youth as a 4-H leader for Codington County and through working with the junior members of the South Dakota Holstein Association. Thyen, her husband, and their family – Natalie, a senior in high school, Andrew, a freshman in high school, and Alex, a fourthgrader – have also remained active
in the show ring. “We still show at county fairs and at the state fair,” she said. “While at the fairs, we try to entice kids [who are visiting the fairs] to help us. They help milk and get to pet the cows.” Although her oldest son, NaThyen continued on next page
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Past South Dakota Dairy Princess relives experience through daughter By Jennifer Borash Staff writer WATERTOWN, S.D – “I couldn’t believe it when they chose me,” Diane Schweer said, recalling her first few moments as the South Dakota Dairy Princess. Schweer was crowned in 1981, to represent the dairy industry as the South Dakota Dairy Princess. This year, she will be reliving those moments of excitement, nervousness, anticipation and joy as she watches her daughter compete for the 54th South Dakota Dairy Princess title. The banquet and coronation will be held in conjunction with the Central Plains Dairy Expo, on April 1 in Sioux Falls, S.D. For her dad Schweer grew up on a 35-cow dairy farm near Armour, S.D. Even though she had always helped on the farm, Schweer said she never really considered running for dairy princess. As much as she loved people, she wasn’t one to get out in front of a large group to talk or lead. Unbeknownst to her, however, other plans were being made. During the summer before her junior year in college at South Dakota State University, Schweer was home helping her parents, Ivan and Priscilla Lau, on their farm. Because there was not enough work for everyone on the farm, Schweer’s father got her a job at a local cheese plant where she worked between morning and evening chores. “One day my dad came up to me and said, ‘Your boss [from the cheese plant] wants you to run for South Dakota Dairy Princess, and I told him you would,’” Schweer said. “So initially, I ran for my dad.” During the beginning stages of prepar-
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Diane Schweer was crowned South Dakota Dairy Princess in 1981. This year, she will be reliving the excitement of her reign when her daughter, Ana, competes for the 54th South Dakota Dairy Princess title on April 1 in Sioux Falls, S.D. ing for the dairy princess contest, Schweer said she was not very excited about it. However, her feelings changed as she became more involved in the program. “Once I decided to run for dairy princess, I got excited and gave it my best,” Schweer said. “By the time I got to the contest, I was there because I wanted to be Schweer continued on next page South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 9
Thyen continued from previous page than, is out of college and in the work force, all of Thyen’s children have played an integral role on the Thyen farm. “Nathan sprays crops but helps on the farm when he can. Andrew does chores before school and is back at chores again after school, while also being involved in basketball. Alex (10) now helps with morning and evening chores,” Thyen said, and laughed. “On my farm when you turn 10, your birthday present is the privilege of doing chores before school as well as after school.” Natalie, Thyen said, has also remained active on the family farm, doing much of the preparation work on the show cattle. Her involvement – as well as the dream of following in her mother’s footsteps – has led Natalie to run for the 2009 South Dakota Dairy Princess title. “Natalie decided to run [for dairy princess] on her own,” Natalie said. “She would always go through my books [from when I was a dairy princess] and say, ‘I’m going to do this.’ Every year she would ask, ‘Can I run this year?’ but she never quite qualified. She was pretty excited about finally making the cut.” For Thyen, watching her daughter stand where she stood 25 years ago is a nostalgic yet exciting experience. “It is really interesting how much more involved [the princess program] is now. It is so much easier to get information now. When I ran, I didn’t really realize how big the dairy industry was because the information wasn’t available to me,” she said. “I’m impressed at how much these girls can learn now. The program has really evolved, yet we still have the same great cows and the
South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 9
Although her oldest son is out of college and in the work force, all of Thyen’s children have played an integral role on the Thyen farm. Shown front row, from left: Alex and Andrew. Back row, from left: Natalie and Nathan. same great product.” Looking back on her year as the South Dakota Dairy Princess, Thyen said the experience has affected her entire life. “I think it made me more open and improved my confidence for promoting the dairy industry,” she said. “Being a South Dakota Dairy Princess gave me a little extra pride in the dairy industry.” As she anxiously awaits the opportunity to support her daughter at the 2009 South Dakota Dairy Princess Banquet and Coronation on April 1 during the Central Plains Dairy Expo, Thyen’s message to all dairy producers is this: “Promote, promote, promote! We can’t do it enough.”
Page 10 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
Schweer continued from previous page
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Today Diane Schweer and her husband Randy own and operate a dairy farm near Watertown, S.D. Schweer said she has always hoped one of their six children would continue in the dairy industry. Pictured back row, from left: Samuel (14), Ana (19). Front row, from left: Elise (11), Randy, Diane, Elena (8) and Maria (22). Not pictured is daughter Joelle and husband Cam Weber. there.” Her pillars of strength prior to the contest and during her reign were her father and her husband-to-be, Randy Schweer. “I met my husband right before the contest,” Schweer said. “He encouraged me, and I became more excited about representing my father’s livelihood.” Her excitement, however, did not quell the nervousness she felt when the crown was placed on her head. “I was scared somewhat; public speaking had never been my forte,” she said. “But I was also excited and honored to serve the dairy industry.” Schweer spent the majority of her reign attending dairy shows, speaking at meetings, farm shows and the South Dakota State Fair, and distributing information about the dairy industry. “I only attended one parade, and I loved it,” Schweer said. “It was for a gentleman’s retirement party and they treated me like royalty.” Throughout her year as dairy princess, Schweer said her dairy message often revolved around the theme, “Cheese adds a slice to life.” “I wrote a poem [with this theme] combining romance and cheese,” Schweer said. Although much of her memorabilia was destroyed in an attic fire, she does recall one line from the poem. “‘If you serve him up a sandwich of ham and swiss, he will surely give you a nice big kiss!’” she said, laughing.
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Serving the industry in other ways Although Schweer no longer dons a crown and a sash to promote dairy, she is still actively involved in the industry. She and her husband own and operate their own dairy farm near Watertown, S.D., along with their six children. Three of their children are still on the farm. One is a college student and two are grown and have gone onto other careers. The student – Schweer’s third oldest daughter, attending South Dakota State University for dairy production/ pre-veterinary medicine – is 19 year-old Ana, who is vying for the title of the 54th South Dakota Dairy Princess. “I always hoped and dreamed one of my daughters would run for dairy princess,” Schweer said. Schweer said although she and Randy have encouraged Ana to run for dairy princess over the past couple of years, it was Ana herself who made the decision to enter the contest. “In the past we have asked Ana if she
One of Schweer’s duties as South Dakota Dairy Princess included posing with the Holstein show’s Grand Champion at the 1981 Watertown Winter Farm Show. Shown with Schweer is consignor David Joos Jr. of Hancock, Minn.
was ready to run, but she always said, ‘No, not this year,’” Schweer said. “When she announced her plans to run for princess in 2009, her dad and I were delighted.” Schweer has followed the princess program since ending her reign, through seeing dairy princesses at various events – such as the annual Cheeseburger Days in Milbank, S.D. – and by attending the annual banquet. She and Randy have also stayed in touch with the program by inviting dairy princesses out to their farm during the annual “Adopt a First Grade” day, for which they act as one of the host farms. Schweer said her role as the 1981 South Dakota Dairy Princess has had a positive impact on her life, mainly in giving her the confidence to get in front of a group of people as a leader. “I went from thinking I could never get up in public to having confidence,” she said. This confidence has led her in much of her work, both on the farm and off. For the past 20 years, Schweer has led praise and worship at her church and works as an independent Reliv distributor – a program that helps people achieve life-changing results with their health and finances. “As a South Dakota Dairy Princess I met many great people in the dairy business,” Schweer said. “I have always hoped that one of my children would continue in the dairy industry. I am looking forward to my daughter Ana’s involvement in the South Dakota Dairy Princess Program this April.”
South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009 • Page 11
We salute the 2009 Dairy Princess candidates and wish them all the very best!
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Page 12 • South Dakota Dairy Princess Special Edition • Dairy Star • March 2009
Congratulations to the candidates of the 54th South Dakota Dairy Princess Contest
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South Dakota State University
Dairy Science Congratulates all the Dairy Princess candidates
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