City, state: Clinton, Iowa
Reign year: 2021-22
Summary of yourself and your ag/dairy background:
I am the 18-year-old daughter of Marty Burken, Susan O'Neil and Lisa Lofquist. My family farm, Blue Hyll Dairy, is a 1,150-head operation based out of Clinton, Iowa. I have worked on the farm for my entire life, as well as showing dairy cattle for the past eight years at the Clinton County and Mississippi Valley Fair.
How your reign started:
I was crowned the 69th Annual Iowa Dairy Princess at the 2021 Iowa State Fair. I competed against about 10 other girls. We did private interviews, group interviews, meals with judges and a public address. I was the youngest competitor and was extremely nervous about the whole process. However, my speech and theater background helped me win the public address portion and subsequently the crown.
Your promotion activities over the past year:
My reign has taken me all over the place. From Dairy Alliance meetings in western Iowa to county fairs in central Iowa, to talking about technology in the agricultural field at S.T.E.M. night in my hometown.
Specific promotion activity you are most proud of from your reign:
The activity I am most proud of from my reign was talking with elementary students from my hometown. They are always so excited to learn about the dairy industry, as well as ask some of the best questions such as, “Do you live in a castle? Are you married to a prince?”
What you think it takes to be successful at promoting dairy:
I think the best skill for a good “agvocate” is the ability to communicate with people. We have to be able to create the dialogue to inspire for dairy promoters.
PHOTO: Hillary Burken read students Ottis and the Scarecrow at Eagle Heights Elementary School in Clinton, Iowa. Photo provided by Kim Clark. Headshot photo provided by Hillary Burken.
- Progressive Dairy
- Email Audrey Schmitz