By Dan Hust
ROSCOE June 14, 2005 Maybe it was working on William Diehls and John Ferbers farms.
Maybe it was becoming a member of one, then two, 4-H clubs.
Maybe it was growing up in rural, agricultural Kenoza Lake.
Maybe it was working at the Youngsville Veterinary Clinic.
Or maybe it was hearing a girl tell her that milk came from the 7-11 down the street that inspired Ashley Luckey to work toward becoming Sullivan Countys Dairy Princess.
I find that there are so many people out there that really do not know where most of their food comes from, and that is especially true for dairy products, she said to a packed dining room Saturday night at the Rockland House in Roscoe. I would like to put a large dent in the number of people that do not know about the dairy industry or dairy products.
I also want to promote the local dairy farmers who have helped me create this passion that I now have for dairy cattle and the dairy industry, the 16-year-old daughter of Craig and Robin Luckey continued. I would like to give what I have gained back to everyone involved in the dairy industry.
As much as Luckey already has accomplished that goal, shes destined to go even farther with it for the next year as the reigning Sullivan County Dairy Princess.
Luckey and her court dairy ambassadors April Drake, Samantha Franklin, Markie Hubert, Nicole Terwilliger and McKenzie Wilbur were crowned Saturday by the Sullivan County Dairy Promotion Committee and will spend the next 12 months writing articles, attending fairs and riding in parades, all in an effort to educate more people about the dairy industry.
Its a tradition that has been ongoing in Sullivan County especially its more rural western side for decades, and the crew of young ladies seemed eager to continue it.
Indeed, 04-05 Dairy Princess Christine Panos and Alternate Princess April Ackermann promised their successors it would be a great experience.
Some people have no idea of the dairy princess or what she does, explained Panos. I wanted to represent the dairy farmers and an industry that is slowly diminishing.
But while agriculture in Sullivan County and elsewhere has decreased, the efforts to promote dairy products across the area and state have not.
According to guest speaker and NYS Second Alternate Dairy Princess Samantha Durfee of Madison County, McDonalds and Wendys have found great success selling plastic bottles of milk and chocolate milk, and the NY Giants and Buffalo Bills football teams have joined with her to promote dairy products.
The effects go beyond more consumption and awareness of milk and other dairy items according to Durfee, the temperature of milk products in schools in New York State (essential to preserving its healthful effects) has dropped six degrees in the past decade.
Luckey and her court plan to keep that momentum going.
It means a lot to me to be able to share the knowledge that I have gained with the public, said Luckey in her acceptance speech.
I hope that I will make all of you proud.