July 5, 2022
Fargo, US 76 F

A Visit With the Current Alice in Dairyland

This spring, Wisconsin is celebrating 75 years of the Alice in DairyLand program. Each year, an “Alice” is named for the one-year, full-time position promoting agriculture throughout the state and beyond. Its more work than you might realize.

“First you submit application. From all the applicants they choose six top candidates, then as a top candidate for “Alice in Dairyland,” you are able to prepare speeches, write articles, social media, TV and radio interviews, memorize all you can about Wisconsin agriculture, and all of that, you present at the “Alice in Dairyland” finals, and then they pick the new “Alice in Dairyland.”

Julia Nunes is the 74th “Alice in Dairyland.” The 75th will be crowned in May.

Julia — and all “Alice in DairyLand” representatives — are full-time ambassadors of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection office. And she loves what she does.

“(laughs) Each day in the life of Alice is a little bit different. One day I’ll be traveling the state, doing industry tours to learn more about Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture. The next day I could be traveling to different media stations – radio and TV – to highlight different agriculture commodities.”

And When Julia Says “Diverse,” She Means *Diverse*. “I just wrapped up my cranberry promotion to highlight Wisconsin’s state fruit and to share that Wisconsin is the world’s leader in cranberry production. We actually produce over half of the world’s cranberries.”

But Julia never loses sight of what Wisconsin is really known for. “I want everyone to know that dairy farmers and people in the dairy industry are constantly working to take care of their animals, the land, and the resources.”

We caught up with Julia at the 2021 world dairy expo, where she was representing the good work dairy farmers do every day.

“Dairy farmers want to keep their animals as healthy as possible, and do it in a way that they are being sustainable, taking care of the land, and they want to use technology that makes their lives a little bit easier. And that’s what World Dairy Expo is here to do, to bring together all aspects of the dairy industry and its role in agriculture.”

And she knows why that’s all so important; “I just want everyone to know how hard dairy farmers work to produce high-quality milk that’s then turned into high-quality dairy products, like cheese, butter, ice cream, things that everyone should be consuming on a daily basis.”

Julia likes that her job isn’t all “glitz and glamour.” She, herself, grew up on a registered Holstein dairy farm, where innovation never stops.

“And that’s the best way that I learn, is with some hands-on experience, and getting my hands dirty, talking with the farmers, and that is something that surprises me every day – is just how innovative our farmers are, and each day, when I meet a new farmer, I learn why they continue to be a part of Wisconsin agriculture, and that’s probably my favorite part of being “Alice in Dairyland.”

Julia doesn’t keep what she learns through her travels to herself. She spreads her agricultural experiences and to everyone who’ll listen.

“We all eat. And we should all be really thanking the farmers that produce those products for us to enjoy.”

The 75th Alice in DairyLand finals take place may 19-21 in Madison.

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