Proud Tradition

Role Of Dairy Princess Includes Promoting Farm Industry

The Chautauqua County Dairy Promotions Committee will name its new Dairy Princess on May 3. Ashley Haskins, current Dairy Princess, is pictured taking a break with calf Muffin on her Ellery farm. P-J photo by William Mohan

ELLERY — The Dairy of Distinction Awards Program will name its new Chautauqua County Dairy Princess for 2019-20.

Candidates must be 16 years of age, have connections to the dairy industry or be sponsored by a dairy farm. The event will take place at the Bemus Point United Methodist Church on May 3 at 6:30 p.m.

The coronation is organized by the Chautauqua County Dairy Promotions Committee. The organization’s purpose is to promote the county’s dairy industry.

During her term, the Chautauqua County Dairy Princess travels around the county promoting the dairy industry and the nutritional importance of dairy products. She also visits classrooms and speaks to youth groups.

Along with her court of ambassadors, the princess also appears in parades and hosts “Refuel with Chocolate Milk” events for sports groups and other organizations in the county.

“Being a Dairy Princess to me wasn’t really about wearing the crown and sash, it was about promoting the dairy industry and the farm families and farmers that work every single day,” said Ashley Haskins 2018-19 Dairy Princess. “It really means so much more.”

Haskins said she especially took the effort in her role to educate the public on the importance of the dairy industry.

“I wanted to drive home that farmers take care of their animals,” Haskins said.

The events she has attended in her tenure include 5K runs, county meetings and other local events.

She exemplified this by describing that she was at the dairy booth for the Chautauqua County Fair every day of the event. During that time she also handed out ribbons and promoted the industry through various dairy products. The princess also brings their own dairy cow with them.

Haskins explained that the role also requires the princess to travel to state and county fairs and meet people from various backgrounds. However, she said the role of promoting the dairy industry is the most important part.

“So much comes from dairy and people don’t know,” Haskins said.

She also said her position helped her grow as a person. “I gained confidence in speaking, which I did not have before,” Haskins said. “It is a lot of responsibility but it is worth it.”

Haskins also offered advice to candidates who aspire to be Dairy Princess. She started in the role of dairy ambassador and remained there for three years.

“I would recommend it because you can start at your own pace, come to events close to you, work your schedule around them and get involved,” Haskins said.

“It gets them involved so they know what to expect in the next couple of years.”

The structure of the organization for new candidates is Dairy Ambassador, alternate princess and Dairy Princess.

A Dairy Ambassador is a person who is a member of the princess’ court and often accommodates her at events in her region. The alternate princess helps the dairy princess at her events. The alternate princess can also oversee events if the Dairy Princess is unable to do so.

Haskins said that being in the role of alternate princess enabled her to step directly into the role.

For Haskins, this is her fifth year in the Chautauqua County Dairy Promotions Committee.

“Last year I got so much more experience from being the alternate than just an ambassador,” Haskins said of her time in the role of alternate.

Candidates for Dairy Princess can expect to attend seminars and training in order to prepare for the crowning and their role. At the same time, candidates also are able to meet county princesses from across New York. Haskins said she also walked away with some friends during this experience.

“That was really fun for me,” she said.

The May 3 event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception of milk punch. Dinner will then served at 7 p.m. To place a reservation, call RoJan Kilmer at 640-6633. The church is located at 4954 Bemus-Ellery Road in Bemus Point.