In late April, Progressive Publishing held its company meeting where almost every employee was able to attend. During the week, we all participated in numerous team meetings, training and activities.
Schmitz audrey
Editor / Progressive Dairy

One required assignment was that everyone had to take new headshot photos – or “mug shots” as we affectionately call them when working with our authors.

When I received my headshot photo back, I was in awe to see how much I had grown, outwardly and inwardly. Five years ago, I graduated from college, moved west and started my career as an editor for Progressive Dairy. When I look at my old photo from when I started, I think of how young, inexperienced, insecure and unsure of everything I was. When I look at myself now in my most recent photo, I see confidence, knowledge, poise and certitude.

Life has thrown me a couple curveballs over the past couple years, and I faced each of them wholeheartedly. I know I still have a way to go, but I am proud of myself for conquering all that has come my way and made me stronger.

While working on this issue’s June Dairy Month articles, I have been learning about a few dairy and agricultural promotion programs and how they have seen change over the last 50 to 75 years. The first is Alice in Dairyland – who today is a one-year, full-time public relations professional employed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Wisconsin celebrates 75th anniversary of Alice in Dairyalnd). Seventy-five years ago, Alice in Dairyland started as a beauty queen and was selected based on a photo competition in a newspaper. Over time, Alice became more of a public speaker and business professional who spends her time educating key groups about agriculture.


The second is the state dairy princess programs. Read: Minnesota State Fair butter sculptor retires after 50 years, Linda Christensen reflects on her time spent as the Minnesota State Fair butter sculptor. For 50 years, she carved Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court’s likenesses out of large blocks of butter. While carving each princess’s “butterhead,” she spent numerous hours having conversations with the young ladies in the butter booth. Over the years, she saw a level of involvement of the princesses wanting to take on traditional roles of a schoolteacher or nurse shift to more active roles on dairy farms and in the industry.

“There was only maybe a few of the early princesses who talked about taking over a farm. I know a few of them said they hoped they could marry a dairy farmer, but there wasn’t the talk of being a dairy farmer like there is now,” Christensen said. “The number of women who want to go back into dairy and maybe even take over their family farm that goes back generations is way more common today.”

It is amazing to see how these programs have evolved and innovated over the years to meet the needs of today’s agriculture and the dairy industry. Progress is impossible without change, and change is exactly what these programs incorporated. Are there areas of your life that need change? Ways to embrace that change can be to take risks, have a coach or mentor, to keep learning, keep creating and to never give up.