This ag advocate wears a sash and a crown

Michelle Stangler
Emilie Berner balances a full schedule at UW River Falls while serving as the 2023 Miss Wisconsin United States Agriculture. The freshmen has a dream to become an agriculture instructor one day.

Since accepting a job at a dairy farm at the age of 14, Emilie Berner has become an advocate of the agricultural industry thanks to her hands-on farm experience as well as her involvement in youth agricultural leadership organizations.

Now serving as the 2023 Miss Wisconsin United States Agriculture, Berner will continue her role as an advocate for the industry but now on a higher platform.

“People that aren’t necessarily born on a farm or have worked on one, still have a place in agriculture even if they weren’t raised on a farm,” said Berner.

The experience she gained working on a farm fueled her passion to become more involved with agriculture, which led to joining the National FFA Organization and serving as the West De Pere FFA chapter’s president.

Until high school, Berner wanted to become a dentist. She said that the local dairy farm shaped her personality during her time working there. That fact that she didn't grow up on a farm has only fueled her desire to to connect with young people hailing from a similar background.

“….I also like to expose with my title to people that aren’t necessarily born on a farm or have worked on one, that they still have a place in agriculture,” she said.

Berner not only wants to advocate and connect with people’s upbringing, but share the diversity in agriculture both through what Wisconsin provides and her ethnicity.

“I am part Native American and part Caucasian – so I get to represent two very different sides, but also all minorities and a lot of people, which is crazy to think about.”

Berner says she wants people to known more about all facets of agriculture, including aquaponics to horticulture and landscaping to hunting and fishing. She often posts on social media, and will expand her efforts through agricultural classroom presentations during her reign.

Berner most enjoys working with wide a range of people. While serving in roles on the county and state level, she hosted activities to engage students using games like bingo using Wisconsin’s agriculture facts, reading books to elementary school kids and visiting fairs. She is hoping to participate in farm tours, visit agricultural related businesses as well as recruiting sponsors to help her promote across the different platforms.

She also enjoys hearing from younger kids when asked questions if she is a queen and what she represents. "Yes, which is really cool.”

Beginning as Brown County’s representative, Berner quickly moved to the state role. Next she moved on to the in the national division, competing against other women ages 17 through 21 years old. Title roles through the national organization include Tiny Miss ages zero to three years all the way up to the Elite Ms. Division for contestants ages 36 and up.

The program began in 2014 with its goal of allowing women to advocate for agriculture by using the crown and sash as a way to start conversations, according to the Miss United States Agriculture website.

“I’m not a pageant girl, and I never thought I’d be on a stage in a fancy dress wearing a bunch of makeup,” said Berner, adding it wasn’t just about presenting herself, but connecting with a group of supportive women.

“The girls will be there for you. Getting to meet them has been a great memory of mine, and I even still talk to them,” she said.

The contest included an interview, an on-stage introduction and even a state fun fashion portion. Although Berner wasn’t there to compete against anyone she says the experience was 'way more valuable than any competition'.

Berner, a freshman agriculture education major with an agricultural business minor, still wanted to represent agriculture and advocate for the industry in some way after not being chosen to serve as a Wisconsin FFA state officer at the annual State FFA Convention in June of 2022. She pivoted, and began this role shortly after in July.

In 2023, Berner will represent Wisconsin with the opportunity to attend the national competition and compete in July. Follow Berner’s journey on social media and more information on the program at