RANDOLPH — Gone are the sashes and crowns. The American Dairy Association North East in New York has put an end to its Dairy Princess Program and gone gender neutral with its new Dairy Ambassador Program.
Katelyn Storer is Cattaraugus County’s new Dairy Ambassador. She was selected to head the county’s dairy promotion efforts in 2022-23 at a county competition held March 27 in Ellicottville.
“We are excited to open the program to more young people,” said Cynthia E. Weimer, senior vice president, Industry Relations at American Dairy Association North East.
Storer said now that boys can be part of the new program, it will expand the number of youth advocating for the dairy industry.
“My goal as this year’s ambassador is to promote and advocate for the dairy industry and be a positive spokesperson throughout Cattaraugus County,” she said.
Because the dairy princess program has been discontinued, Storer will not be donning a tiara and sash like dairy princesses of the past. She will act as a spokesperson and goodwill ambassador for the local dairy industry, representing the county’s dairy farmers.
Her duties include promotion of local dairy products by educating consumers on nutrition and the role of dairy farms in the county. Along with her associates, Storer will be presenting many ribbons and awards to exhibitors next week.
Storer said serving as the dairy ambassador has already given her valuable experience. She said she has learned something new and interesting every time she’s made an appearance on behalf of the dairy industry.
“I’m super excited about performing my duties at the fair because I haven’t had a lot of communication with the public since I’ve been chosen as ambassador,” she said. “This will give me more experience in public speaking.”
Storer is the daughter of Chris Storer and Robin Foster, of Randolph, and she has a sister, Madelyn Foster. Entering her senior year at Randolph Central School, she was vice president of her junior class, is a member of Randolph FFA, the National Honor Society, plays Varsity soccer and is a starter on her basketball team. After high school, she plans to major in the medical field to be a physician’s assistant.
Outside of school, Storer is active in the Cattaraugus Holstein Club, a member of the New York Brown Swiss Association and president of the Variety Pack 4-H Club. She said the name reflects the fact almost every breed of cattle is represented in their club. They have members from Randolph, Cattaraugus and Salamanca.
Storer’s dairy associates are Olivia Shawley, daughter of Scott and Melissa Shawley, and Addyson Shawley, daughter of Scott and Melissa Shawley, all of Randolph, and Janessa Rublee, daughter of Rick and Shantel Rublee of Salamanca. Storer said all three girls are her cousins, and they are granddaughters of dairy farmers Dana and Julie Rublee of Mansfield.
Including herself, Storer said they all have grown up around the dairy industry and have experienced countless numbers of positive examples among area dairy farmers. She said they have learned the foundation principles of hard work, dedication and perseverance from watching and helping their grandparents.
Because she won Grand Champion last year, Storer said she is not allowed to participate in the showmanship competition this year but can compete again next year. She will be taking several animals to show at the fair this year including a Brown Swiss calf, a Holstein heifer, a Brown Swiss milking cow and a Holstein dairy steer. She will be showing her heifer, Ivy, at the Holstein Show Tuesday, and all three animals at the 4-H Dairy Show Wednesday.
Storer and her associates will be promoting the dairy industry all year long. So far this year, they have made appearances at the farm bureau picnic, Farmer-Neighbor Dinner and the South Dayton Farmers Market.
The New York State Dairy Ambassador program is funded through New York dairy farmers, through their checkoff promotion dollars and administered through American Dairy Association North East.
The program’s goal is to develop youth advocates for the dairy industry. As of this spring, the program has opened to include both young men and young women as local county promotion leaders. Both genders now have the opportunity to vie for the state title at the yearly competition in February.
The program aims to build critical professional skills and confidence of young individuals who are passionate about the dairy industry. Individuals will gain experience collaborating with a team, knowledge of ADA North East promotion and marketing programs, and will participate in sessions led by experts in public speaking, social media, team building and leadership.
The Cattaraugus County Fair runs from July 31 through Aug. 6. For more information, call (716) 938-9146 or visit online at cattarauguscofair.com.