Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Photos by Karen M. Jorgensen Dodge County’s Dairy Princesses pose after the Dairy Association Banquet Saturday night. Left to right are Gabi Espinoza, 2022 and 2023 princess, Alita Rinehart, 2023 princess, Makenzie Alberts, 2023 princess, Ellie Sauder, 2023 princess, and Amanda Sauder, retiring 2022 princess.John Bierbaum accepted his award as 2023 Friend of Dairy. Also named a 2023 Friend of Dairy recipient was Karen Jorgensen.Amanda Sauder and Gabi Espinoza, dairy princesses for 2022, gave a review of their year before announcing the 2023 princesses.Makenzie AlbertsAlita RinehartGabi EspinozaEllie SauderThe Alberts family gets together after the banquet with three family members who are Dodge County Dairy Princesses, Makenzie Alberts, Amanda Sauder, and Ellie Sauder. The Alberts family has been dairy farming in Dodge County for seven generations.

4 young women to serve as county dairy princesses

Four young women from the area will be serving this year as ambassadors for the county’s dairy farmers.

McKenzie Alberts, Gabi Espinoza, Alita Rinehart, and Ellie Sauder were announced Saturday night as the newest Dodge County Dairy Princesses.

Alberts is the daughter of Eric and Angie Alberts of Pine Island and is sponsored by D & H Field Services of Osakis. Espinoza is the daughter of MaryBeth and Ramon Espinoza of Kasson and is sponsored by Suhr Dairy LLC and Zumbro Valley Farms.

Rinehart is the daughter of Brian and Amanda Rinehart of Kasson and sponsored by the Carriage House Animal Hospital and Dodge Vet Clinic. Sauder is the daughter of Stan and Amy Sauder and sponsored by Nelson Dairy consultants, Inc., Clint Renken.

Also at the evening banquet two Friends of Dairy Awards were announced, John Bierbaum and Karen Jorgensen.

2022 Dairy Princesses Amanda Sauder and Gabi Espinoza gave a brief recap of the past year. Both of the women said that they enjoyed participating in the many events that a dairy princess attends and getting a chance to talk with children and adults about the dairy industry, what dairy farmers do, and the health benefits of dairy products.

In her farewell address as a dairy princess, Sauder said her passion for agriculture started early and she began showing her animals at age three. Now a junior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, she is the sixth generation in her family to be involved with the dairy industry.

She started her reign in April of 2020, she said, and since then her activities as a dairy princess have been different because of the COVID pandemic.

She also pointed out that during the pandemic, farmers and those who work with them kept on working so dairy products were available to the consumers.

Her time as a dairy princess has been “so much fun,” she said, especially the classroom visits with the kids who always ask a lot of questions.

She is planning a career in marketing in the ag area.

Each of the 2023 dairy princesses also had a chance to introduce themselves. McKenzie Alberts is a freshman at South Dakota State University. As dairy princess, she said, she wants to promote the legacy of her family and the dairy industry.

Gabi Espinoza is also a student at South Dakota State University and is majoring in nursing. She served as a dairy princess the past year with Amanda Sauder. Educating the public about dairy and farming is one of her goals, she said. Rumors often have a negative impact on the industry, and she wants to make sure consumers know where their milk is coming from, the nutritional value of dairy, and about the care of the animals on dairy farms. She especially wants to reach out to younger kids.

Alita Rinehart is a high school senior who works on the Naatz Dairy Farm. She has been on the Kasson-Mantorville Dance team, is the reporter for the K-M FFA group, has been in 4-H for seven years and is the president of the Zumbro Rockets and is also interested in photography.

She said she has learned so much from working on the dairy farm and continuing to learn.

“I am excited to be one of the four dairy princesses who represent Dodge County dairy farmers, she said.

Ellie Sauder is a high school senior who will be attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next year. She is also a seventh-generation dairy farmer.

She said she hopes to be a good advocate for dairy in the coming year.

Sponsors of the dairy princess program include, Gallon sponsors, Frandsen Bank & Trust, Pine Island; Hodgman Drainage Co., West Concord; Kasson Dental Clinic, Kasson; KMTelecom, Kasson; MBT Bank, Mantorville; Minnesota Ag Group, Kasson; Muriel L. French, Dodge Center; Northland Farm Systems, Owatonna, and Olson Motor Repair, Pine Island.

Milk Can sponsors include Anderson Vet Clinic, Zumbrota; Balzer’s IBA Dairy Supplies, Owatonna; Home Federal Bank, Kasson; Paul J. Kiltinen, Attorney at Law, Kasson; O’Brien Farms — Patrick and Emma O’Brien, Kasson; Owen’s Locker Plant, Pine Island; Ron and Mary Whiteaker, Kasson, and Viking Realty, Hayfield.

Bulk Tank sponsors are Currier Brothers, Mantorville; Ron Durst, Mantorville; Elias Farms, Luke and Jill Elias, Mantorville; French Dairy Farm, Jason and Tammy French, West Concord; Bo-Fran Dairy, Adam Whiteaker, Mantorville; Ken Durst and Janice Borgstrom-Durst, Kasson; CFS, Hayfield; Heritage Bank, West Concord; Maxon Electric, Inc. Mantorville; Hyland Systems, West Concord; Compeer Financial; Midwest Livestock Systems, Zumbrota; Dodge County Farmers Union; Claremont Farmers Mutual; Reber Dairy Farm LLC, Mantorville; Stevenson Insurance, Inc., Kasson; Pine-Shelter Farms, Pine Island; R&M Steele, Dodge Center; Minnesota Select Sires Co-op; 1Stop Realty, Kasson, and CHS.

Chair of the Dodge County American Dairy Association is Susie Thoe, secretary is Madge Alberts, treasurer is Adam Whiteaker and princess coordinator is Karen Naatz.




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