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Holstein princesses taking on expanded roles

Jan. 3, 2013 | 0 comments



The Wisconsin Holstein Association’s new princess and princess attendant expect to blaze a new trail in 2013, and that trail will have everything to do with the Holstein cow and speaking out for agriculture.

Morgan Behnke, 19, was named WHA princess on Saturday night (Dec. 29) at the organization’s junior member convention here, and Crystal Siemers-Peterman, 17, was named princess attendant.

Behnke, is the daughter of Roger and Lisa Behnke of New Glarus, and Siemers-Peterman is the daughter of Sherry Siemers-Peterman and Jack Peterman of Cleveland.

Behnke and Siemers-Peterman met on Sunday with their princess advisors, and both are excited about the changes facing them in their new roles.

While past royalty have been prominent ring-side at various shows in helping to pass out ribbons to exhibitors, they will take on an expanded role in the year ahead. The two young women — who have become close friends — will serve greater ambassadorial roles.

"We’re doing a revamp of the program, so it will be more of a public-relations position," explained Behnke. "We will be the first generation of a new kind of Holstein princesses."

"Before, (the princesses) have gone to shows, but not been put on the microphone," adds Siemers-Peterman. "Now, instead of being just the face of the Holstein industry, we’ll also be the voice of the industry. We’ll be talking about how great the Holstein cow is, and we’ll be doing a lot more communications."

Behnke grew up in the city of New Glarus in Green County, and she started buying Holsteins at the age of 11, when she got her first Farm Service Agency loan. Her first purchase was an Excellent cow and two calves.

She raised her Holsteins on the farm of her grandparents, E.J. and Joyce Behnke, until her family later moved to a farmette just out of town. Since her parents didn’t have a farm prefix, Behnke started her own, Second-Street Holsteins, named after the street on which they lived.

While Behnke now owns nine Holsteins, the focus of her enterprise is to buy and sell embryos and cattle, and she estimates she’s already sold 25 calves, bulls, cows and embryos. She works largely with show animals, so she looks for animals with good pedigrees and good records behind them.

Her dairy activities have included participating in Cows on the Concourse, WHA Dairy Bowl (she was captain of the team that placed second in the state in 2009) and, for nine years, the Green County dairy judging team.

She was Green County’s Outstanding Holstein Girl in 2009, and she is a James Crowley Scholarship winner.

In 2007, her winter yearling heifer was nominated for All-American honors, and that heifer was named junior champion at World Dairy Expo the same year.

Behnke is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where she is pursuing a major in graphic design and a minor in imaging media. She plans to work in marketing and advertising after college, preferably working in the dairy industry and agriculture.


WHA attendant

Siemers-Peterman is a senior at Howards Grove High School in Manitowoc. Her Holstein Association activities have included participating in Dairy Bowl, Dairy Jeopardy and speaking contests.

In 2011, she received the National Younger Distinguished Junior Member Award from the National Holstein Association. That same year, her cow, Siemers Alisha Golf Ava-ETS, was named grand champion of the Wisconsin State Fair junior show.

While she admits she likes doing well in the show ring, it is not the most important thing to her.

"I love going to shows and meeting all sorts of people involved in the Holstein industry," she notes.

Siemers-Peterman is very active in her family’s dairy farm, Siemers Holsteins, located near Newton. She milks cows, treats fresh cows and "does day-to-day stuff" that is part of every dairy operation.

She recently headed up her farm’s new calf-nutrition program.

While it still is a little early to know which university she will attend, she plans to pursue double majors in agricultural industries and marketing and food science.

"I’m really passionate about the dairy industry and love to talk about dairy products," she says.

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