Kaitlyn Riley has been chosen as Wisconsin’s 71st Alice in Dairyland. As Alice, Riley will work as a communications professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Her job will be to educate the public about the importance of agriculture in Wisconsin.
Riley, from Gays Mills, learned first-hand the passion and work ethic of Wisconsin farmers growing up on her family’s registered Jersey dairy farm. 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. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. After graduating with honors in May, 2014 Riley served as the 48th Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs. Professionally, she worked as the farm news director at WPRE-WQPC Radio in Prairie du Chien and as a multimedia journalist with WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire.
In May, 2017 she returned to the family farm where she manages calf and heifer care. She continues sharing the stories of agriculture by freelance writing for Hoard’s Dairyman, and she volunteers with agricultural organizations such as the Crawford County Dairy Promoters, Crawford County Livestock Camp Committee, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
Bob Bosold, emcee for Saturday’s announcement, spoke with Kaitlyn.
“As Alice in Dairyland, I will give a positive voice to Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry,” said Riley. “Through my travels, I will learn from the many faces of agriculture to better educate urban and rural audiences about the importance of Wisconsin food, fuel and fiber production in our daily lives.”
Riley was selected at the culmination of three days of final interview events in Adams County. The events included agribusiness tours, speeches, a public question-and-answer session and media interviews. The other candidates were: Kristen Broege, Janesville; Sydney Endres, Lodi; Alexus Grossbier, Elk Mound,; Jacqueline Hilliard, Wisconsin Dells; and Megan Schulte, Hammond.
Riley will start working as Alice on June 4. She succeeds 70th Alice in Dairyland Crystal Siemers-Peterman of Cleveland. As Alice, Riley will travel about 40,000 miles speaking at events and giving media interviews. She will present lessons in more than 100 Wisconsin classrooms in partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
A number of other Wisconsin organizations contribute to make Alice in Dairyland visible and recognizable to the public. For example, Schulte will wear a custom mink garment to promote Wisconsin’s fur industry, and she’ll drive an E-85 flex-fuel Ford Explorer to promote the state’s ethanol industry. While working, Schulte will wear a 14-carat gold and platinum brooch or tiara, both of which feature amethysts and citrines, gems indigenous to Wisconsin.
To schedule the 71st Alice in Dairyland for an event or classroom visit, contact Program Manager Ti Gauger at 608-224-5115 or [email protected] Follow Alice online at facebook.com/DATCPAliceInDairyland or twitter.com/Alice_Dairyland.