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Passion for dairy pushes through pandemic



A global pandemic is not pausing a young woman’s passion for the dairy industry.

Kate Meyer is the first Winona County Dairy Princess to have even been selected virtually.

“It was definitely challenging,” Meyer said talking about the interview process. “We held the crowning online, but I think that was fun because more people who don’t usually get the chance to make it to the banquet got to hear our speeches and see us get crowned. That was pretty cool, but definitely something different.”

In her time as an ambassador, she has used the online platform to continue reaching consumers.

As Minnesota relaxed some restrictions on events and gatherings, Meyer did have a few chances to interact with the community during June Dairy Month handing out milk and cookies at Cabin Coffee in St. Charles and serving ice cream at the Lewiston Farmers Market.

“We had a few good chances to get out in the public, so that’s been fun,” Meyer said.

She has always had a strong foothold in the industry. Her family owns and operations Quarry Hill Dairy. They milk around 800 cows and produce their own crops.

“I just want people to understand that farmers work really hard for food on the table and that all dairy products are safe,” Meyer said. “No matter what the label says, they are safe because they’re inspected properly. You never have to worry about any safety measures not being met when it’s on the shelf.”

Although most summer activities are canceled, Meyer said Winona County residents will continue to find her serving ice cream and doing giveaways at the Lewiston Farmers markets on Wednesday nights. She will also use her position to volunteer at the food shelf in St. Charles.

“As long as we practice the social distancing roles, we will be available for people to come visit and talk to the public,” Meyer said.

One of the best ways to keep up with the Winona County Dairy Royalty is on Facebook.

“We need to continue to support dairy farmers and continue to stay positive during this time,” Meyer said.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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