Taylor Schaefer selected as the 75th Alice in Dairyland

Amber Burke
Wisconsin State Farmer

Taylor Schaefer of Franksville was chosen as Wisconsin’s 75th Alice in Dairyland at the finals celebration at the Monona Terrace in Madison on Saturday, May 21, 2022. 

Taylor Schaefer expresses her thanks for being selected as the 75th Alice in Dairyland.

Schaefer is a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and life sciences communication and a certificate in digital studies.

An emotional Schaefer accepted her crown and sash from the 74th Alice in Dairyland, Julia Nunes.

"It is such an honor to be selected as the 75h Alice in Dairyland," Schafer said, wiping away tears. "I've called Dane County home for the last four years, so it is extra special to have been chosen right here in Dane County."

She also went on to express thanks to her family and friends, DATCP staff, the Dane County host committee and the other top five 'Alice' finalists Amber Cafferty, Amelia Hayden, Courtney Moser, Samantha Schuessler, and Charitee Seebecker. .

Outgoing Alice in Dairyland, right, Julia Nunes welcomes her successor Taylor Schaefer as the  new 75th Alice in Dairyland.

Dane County served as host for the 75th Alice in Dairyland finals, which included three days of candidate preparatory events and agricultural tours leading up to a banquet and finale on Saturday evening.

A red carpet greeted guests at the Monona Terrace along with photo opportunities for the attendees for the 75th anniversary celebration.

The finale featured presentations by the top six candidates vying for the agricultural ambassador position. In addition, former Alice in Dairylands from the past 75 years were introduced, including the very first Alice, 92-year old, Margaret McGuire Blott.

Blott said she was delighted to be in attendance for the selection of the 75th Alice. "I am very happy to be here and I think this is a terrific program," Blott said. "These girls work really hard to promote Wisconsin agricultural products."

Wisconsin's first Alice in Dairyland, Margaret McGuire Blott waves to the crowd

Julia Nunes, who served two terms as the 73rd and 74th Alice in Dairyland, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, gave a tearful farewell conveying her appreciation to all who supported her over the past two years. In addition, Nunes presented two Friends of Alice awards to Ron Fruit from WRCO Radio in Richland Center and Nicole Barlass, president of the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board.

Nunes also received gifts from program partners including an amethyst necklace from Goodman Jewelers and Midwest Jewelers Association, a mink garment from the Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders and a grilling gift basket from the Wisconsin Beef Council. The Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board provides the use of an E85-capable 2019 Ford Explorer, nicknamed Kernel, for Alice to drive to her promotional and educational events around the state. Additional program partners include Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Ginseng Board and Something Special from Wisconsin brands.

Secretary of Agriculture Randy Romanski recognizes outgoing Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes

Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Randy Romanski announced Schaefer as the 75th Alice in Dairyland after the panel of four judges convened for the final selection process.

The panel evaluated candidates on ten criteria including individual interviews, writing samples, ratio and television interviews, agribusiness videos, social media campaign development, a question-and-answer event, impromptu and prepared speaking and general professionalism.

The top six finalists await Secretary Romanski's announcement  of the winning candidate.

The 2022 selection panel consisted of Arthur Ircink, editor of Edible Milwaukee and executive producer of Wisconsin Foodie on PBS, Jayme Buttke, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, Tina Peterson from Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Nicole Wagner, executive director for the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board.

In the Alice in Dairyland position, Schaefer will work for the contract year as a full-time communications professional for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), educating the public about the importance of agriculture in Wisconsin.

Taylor Schaefer’s fondest memories stem from her family’s beef and crop farm, where raising livestock and serving as a youth leader in the Racine County 4-H program ignited her passion for agriculture.

Schaefer went on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was involved in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band. In 2021, she interned with Mayer Beef and Folk Song Farm, where she broadened her knowledge of the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program and connected with consumers.

She has since joined the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin Madison as a digital media intern and the Mid-West Farm Report as a farm assistant. In May 2022, she graduated with bachelor’s degrees in animal sciences and life sciences communication and a certificate in digital studies. Upon graduation, she accepted a position with the Mid-West Farm Report in Madison, Wisconsin.

“As a young exhibitor, I looked up to Alice for her contributions towards reconnecting consumers to producers and ability to foster positive relationships between urban and rural community members,” said Schaefer. “As Alice, I will explore Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry and share my knowledge with audiences of all demographics across the state.”

Schaefer will begin her term as the 75th Alice in Dairyland on July 5, 2022. She succeeds 74th Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes of Chippewa Falls, who will continue her current term as the 74th Alice in Dairyland until the transition in July.

Taylor Schaefer showing at the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair

Walworth County will serve as host for the 2023 Alice in Dairyland Finals at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, May 11-13, 2023.

Alice in Dairyland is a full-time communications professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The Alice program is supported by several partner organizations including Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Midwest Jewelers Association, Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Beef Council.