Julia Nunes crowned 73rd Alice in Dairyland

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Julia Nunes was crowned the 73rd Alice in Dairyland Saturday, June 20.

Julia Nunes, hailing from a family of dairy farmers in Tilden, has been crowned the 73rd Alice in Dairyland, who will serve as an agriculture ambassador for the state of Wisconsin for the next year.

Nunes was crowned in Walworth County, who hosted this year's finals and will also host next year's. She served as the Fairest of the Fair for the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in 2017. She also graduated last year from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with bachelor's degrees in agricultural communication and marketing as well as animal science, with minors in agricultural and food business management along with horticulture. 

Nunes has worked with Kinni Hemp Company in River Falls and Redhead Creamery outside St. Cloud, Minnesota. Nunes was also involved in 4-H and the Junior Holstein Association as a teen. She said growing up on a registered Holstein dairy cow farm gave her strong roots in Wisconsin agriculture.

"I am ready to cultivate conversations about the importance of Wisconsin agriculture," Nunes said during the Q&A session Friday night. 

Nunes made a vlog, a new requirement for a socially-distant event, showcasing the work of an egg and poultry farm as well as a greenhouse farm market. She also gave a speech on the cranberry industry in the state.

Nunes faced competition from fellow Alice finalists Erica Helmer, Stephanie Hoff, Grace Schroeder, Kaitlin Konder and Rachel Gerbitz. She succeeds Abigail Martin, 72nd Alice, who will help her transition into the now-virtual role through July.

"Thank you so much for this opportunity," Nunes said. "I'm so beyond blessed to serve as the 73rd Alice in Dairyland."

This year's selection panel consisted of Beth Schaefer, representing Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; Jackie Fett, representing Ginseng Board of Wisconsin; and Mark Rhoda-Reis, representing Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Bill Thompson, president of the Walworth County Fair Board, emceed the event.

The event featured many special guests, both in-person and virtually, including Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Cayley Vande Berg; John Hayes of Midwest Jewelers Association; Doug Rebout of Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and Wisconsin Corn Growers Association; Valerie Zimbal of Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association; and WDATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski.

Abigail Martin also awarded the Friend of Alice Award to cranberry farmer Nodji Van Wychen, who owns Wetherby Cranberry Company with her husband in Warrens, Wisconsin.