My family moved to Wisconsin and purchased a small farm in Chippewa Falls before I started first grade. Both of my parents grew up on the West Coast, but decided to move to the Midwest to cultivate their own dairy farm.
Like 95% of farms in Wisconsin, our farm is family owned. Although all three of my sisters and I had many interests growing up, our lives revolved around the farm and the work that had to be done there every day.
Feeding calves, shaking straw to bed the cows and sweeping up feed were some of my tasks. I learned firsthand how much time, energy and love goes into being a part of Wisconsin’s agriculture community.
Agriculture was a big part of my childhood. I loved bringing my animals to the Northern Wisconsin State Fair each year so kids from school who visited the fair with their families could see my cows.
My sisters and I helped with chores on the farm and occasionally milked the cows. When chores were finished, we would all head inside and help prepare dinner.
Growing up on a farm brought me closer together with my family and I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had been raised off the farm.
Becoming Alice in Dairyland has been a lifelong dream.
In 2007, Chippewa County hosted the 60th Alice in Dairyland competition and I was 10 years old. My mom was on the planning committee and my sisters and I were able to meet all the candidates.
The event ignited a spark in me, and I hoped that someday I might have the opportunity to be Alice in Dairyland. That dream became a reality on June 20.
I am beyond excited for the year ahead of me and look forward to being a role model for youth in agriculture, just like Alice in Dairyland was for me.
I can’t wait to share farmers’ stories and the importance of agriculture across the state.
During my first two weeks as the 73rd Alice in Dairyland I was able to put some miles on Kernel, the flex-fuel Ford Explorer, as I toured two agribusinesses.
My first tour was at the United Wisconsin Grain Producers ethanol production facility in Friesland. I learned that UWGP uses more than 20 million bushels of corn every year for ethanol production and that yeast plays a key role in the process.
The next day, I was able to visit a New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo. Not only do they grow their own lavender for dried flowers and lotions, but also to use in food.
I had the privilege of sampling their lavender lemonade and cherry and lavender pie and both were amazing.
If you’re ever in the Baraboo area looking for a unique, family owned place to visit, I encourage you to check them out.
Buying Wisconsin’s safe, nutritious food products supports farmers and food processors and contributes to the economic strength of Wisconsin communities.
Julia Nunes of Chippewa Falls is Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland. To learn more about these agribusinesses and to follow her adventures, visit aliceindairyland.com.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!