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Abigail Martin Selected as 72nd Alice in Dairyland
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/13/2019

A Rock County woman has been crowned as Wisconsin's 72nd Alice in Dairyland. Abigail Martin from Milton was selected for the title Saturday night at the Monroe Middle School Auditorium during a finale program hosted by Green County.

Martin grew up on her family's registered Holstein farm, where she represents the fourth generation. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in dairy science.

At college, Abigail was involved in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and was on the intercollegiate dairy judging team. She has held previous roles in marketing at the Rock County 4-H Fair, East Central/Select Sires, and Babcock Hall Dairy Store. During the past year, she served as a marketing executive for DeLaval Inc.

Other finalists in the running during the competition were Sarah Achenbach, Eastman; Cassandra Krull, Lake Mills; Mariah Martin, Brooklyn; and Tess Zettle, Juda.

Serving as judges this year were Grace Colas, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture; Tina Peterson, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; and Heidi Randall, Alsum Farms & Produce. David Mosher of Mosher & Associates served as the master of ceremonies.

Meanwhile, this year's Alice, Kaitlyn Riley of Gays Mills, said serving as the state's agricultural ambassador is not just about filling big shoes, but wearing all kinds of shoes.

"Flats carried me through a summer of June Dairy Month celebrations, fairs, festivals and a dancing day with Donald Driver," she said in her retiring address. "Boots brought me back to the farms of all types, sizes and production methods. And heels helped me stand taller than elementary students as we explored the importance of agriculture together. These shoes have miles of memories beneath them. I cannot show enough gratitude for each stop."

And before giving up her title, Kaitlyn presented the 2019 Friend of Alice Award to Jill Makovec, who like Riley served as Fairest of the Fair for Wisconsin prior to becoming Alice in Dairyland.

Also in the crowd on Saturday were some other former Alices, including Mary Ellen (Jenks) Jordal-1953; Lisa (Hoesly) Behnke-1985; Liz Henry-1986; Kristine (Gratz) Welsh-1987; Kim (Nettesheim) Flitcroft-1990; Angela (Corbin) Tuthill-1993; Jolynne (Nagel) Schroephfer-1995; Courtney (Ott) Booth-1997; Jennifer (Hasler) Meyer-1998; Natalie (Parmentier) Killion-2003; Nicole (Reese) Barlass-2006; Jill Makovec-2007; Ashley (Huibregtse) Andre-2008; Cheryl O'Brien-2009; Christine (Lepple) Lindner-2010; Rochelle (Ripp) Schnadt-2012; Kristin (Natzke) Olson-2013; Zoey Brooks-2014; Teyanna (Loether) Marx-2015; Ann O'Leary-2016; and Crystal Siemers-Peterman-2017.

Martin officially begins her duties as Alice in early June. Until then, Riley will continue to make appearances at various events as her successor goes through a brief training process.

Alice in Dairyland is a full-time public relations professional employed by the state's division of agricultural development. Each year, she travels more than 40,000 miles throughout the state and nation, promoting Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages and types.

Green County is known for having more cows than people and agriculture is the area's largest industry. There are more Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers than any other area of the state in the county, and it's home to many breweries and wineries. Visitors to the area will also find more than 100 barn quilts throughout its winding country roads.

Next year, the Alice in Dairyland finals will be held in Walworth County in May 2020. Dunn County has been announced as the 2021 host. And in 2022, Dane County will hold the 75th annual finals competition.

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