Dairy Princess Nicole Meyer might be the most experienced member of this year’s crop of Dairy Princesses, having been one in 2016, but she wasn’t always involved in dairy farms. That has since changed—drastically.
Meyer said she got her start working with dairy cows as a child visiting her grandparents’ farm.
As the oldest grandchild, Meyer would help her grandfather and uncle, but she never was there enough to fully get used to the cows.
When her mother remarried when she was 12, Meyer spent half her time at her stepfather’s farm doing a few chores at the 20-cow dairy farm.
“We kind of did a lot of the housework and yard work,” Meyer said.
Then, when she was 15, Meyer decided to get involved more in the farming business that her grandparents and her mother and stepfather were in. She got a part-time job at her neighbor’s farm milking cows, before eventually being hired full-time.
“Every young kid wants a job and that money in their pocket,” Meyer said.
She started off working when they needed an extra hand and milking cows every other weekend. Now, she milks cows every morning and night.
Then, in her senior year, Meyer decided to go for the title of Dairy Princess, and got it. Over the summer of 2016, Meyer worked to balance her work, chores at home and her duties as a Dairy Princess.
From parades to presenting a basket to the family of the first baby born in June, dairy month, to dishing out ice cream and milk at the Morrison County Fair, being a Dairy Princess can take up a lot of time, Meyer said.
Her top three events that she did as a princess last year were the Coborn’s cookout, presenting the basket to the first baby born in June and the parades.
Her first parade was kind of exhilarating, Meyer said, because at some point, everyone is looking at her or the float. This feeling is then humorously tempered by the fact that most of the kids are waiting for the candy, Meyer said.
One of the best parts of being a princess, and one of the reasons she did it again, Meyer said, is getting to inform people about the dairy business.
“Even in rural town Little Falls, you go to the County Fair and there are still some people who have never seen a cow,” Meyer said.
She said a hurtful misconception some people have about farming is that farmers are cruel to their animals.
Most farmers, including those she works with, Meyer said, try to treat their cows the best they can, especially since they rely on the cows for their livelihood.
A happy cow is a great milk producing cow, Meyer said. If one of their cows isn’t feeling well, Meyer and her co-workers have seen milk production decrease by half.
Meyer said she tries to tell people how farmers try to keep their cows happy and healthy, from good food to making sure any health issues are taken care of quickly.
Another reason Meyer came back as a Dairy Princess was to get another chance at the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title, though she didn’t get it this year either.
Meyer and the other princesses will be at events promoting dairy throughout the year.